Skip to main content

Full text of "Pingali Suranarya"

See other formats

Rajah Rao Venkata Knmara Mahipathi Surya Ran 

Bahadur Varu, C. B. E., D Litt. 


Sun of the Andhra land* whose radiance, 
Ushering new life over this country's face, 
Renews the glory of your ancient racal 
Years are no limit to your influence. 
Ardent in love of man, your conscience, 
Ripened with culture and such innate grace, 
As of old Hindu kings, delights in ways 
Of learning, progress, and beneficence! 
Beside the Tungabhadra's lucid streams, 
A Poet lived : the princes of the day, 
High-minded men, enraptured by h<s dreams, 
Dearly loved him, but they all passed away. 
Uncared for since, to that Suranarya poor, 
Refuge you gave, O 


Pingali Suranarya is surely a supreme 
poet/ Thequihty of his works is of the very 
highest order. He is certainly one of our greatest 
poets. His insight into human nature is simply 
profound, fn holding up the mirror to nature, he 
is unexcelled. His beautiful flights to the lofty 
heights of imagination are most magnificent. He 
marvellously reveals the secrets of God's creation. 
His delightful style has a charm of its own. A 
pioneer in many lines, he is unique in certain 
respects. His two remarkable poems "Prabhavathi 
Pradyumnamu'' and "Kalapurnodayamu" stand 
unrivalled in their particular spheres. These two 
exquisite poems are of extra > ordinary excellence. 
In fine, ineffable is the pleasure afforded by them. 

Thikkana, Nacbana Somana, Bam ra era 
Pothana, and Pingali Sirana are the mightiest 
Titans of 1 elugu literature. They are world poets 
and are undoubtedly amongst the greatest writers 
the world has ever produced. Phey are, truly, 
immortals. I do not, in the least, hesitate to state 
that they vie with the best, the t^ast or the West 
can boast of. They stand unsurpassed as poetical 
geniuses. As we, Andhras, heartily appreciate the 
first rate merits of the poets of other languages, I 
believe that Non- Andhras will return the compli- 
ment. The fundamental essentials of human 
nature being the same all the world over, the 
great merits of poetry can be understood and 
appreciated in practically all parts of the 

world. Of coirae, the emulate ebat*rfl of A 
in one languige cannot be fully enjoyed by those 
"Who do nor, know thdt language, as it is impossi- 
ble to translate literary beauty in its entirety. 
But to a very great extent it can be appreciated* 

The above mentioned four poets of remark- 
able abitity stand supreme in the whole field of 
Telutu literature Next come the great, poets, 
Nannaya, Yerranarya, Yellana, Gowrana, Krishna 
Devaraya, Nanne Choda, (Jhemakura Venkata- 
Kavi and Devuldpalli Subbiraya Sastry and 
Venkata Krishna Sastry. After them come many 
good poets. 

We have every reason to be proud of our 
noble literature and glorious language. The 
iamous ancient king, Krishnadevaraya, a great 
poet, profound pundit and sound scholar, well 
versed in various vernaculars, deliberately decla- 
red that the Telutu language was the best of all 
vernaculars Vmukonda Valla bharayudu anofher 
ancient and good Telugu pa^t pi iced Telugu above 
Sanskrit. The Telugu language, being most 
musical, is styled, the Italian of the East. This 
high appreciation is shown by the Europeans. 
Telugu is very rich in musical literature. Non- 
Andhra musicians also, even when ignorant of 
the meaning, sing some of our most melodious 
Telugu songs. 

My esteemed friend, Mr. T. Achyuta Bau, 
has, with great success, done his utmost to inter- 
pret the beauties of the poems of one of our tnost 


illustriojas writers. This treatise is truly a treat 
to read. It is indeed a unique production. I think 
this is the first and, so far, the only work of its 
kind written in English or Telugu on such an 
elaborate scale. The writer is one of the few of 
our best critics. He is thoroughly impartial. 
While mentioning the merits of his favourite 
poet, he does not hesitate to point out a few things 
that may appear to be below par. In fact, they 
are very few and far between. An absolutely per- 
fect poet is not found anywhere in the world. 
I he critic's penetrative study has enabled him to 
bring out many of the innumerable qualities of 
excellence. In this connection, I should mention 
that I entirely differ from ray friend regarding his 
theories of allegories, philosophic il and historical, 
in "Kalapurnodayamu" . I am in very good com- 
pany, as many eminent scholars of groat erudition 
in Sanskrit and /Telugu are in agreement with me. 
By writing this very valuable work tho author is 
rendering a great service to the Felugu literature, 
and Andhra Desa. He has written sone other 
works and intends to write more books on literary 
subjects. It but behoves the Andhras to afford him 
full facilities for carrying on this meritorious 
work. May Qod bless, with success, his laudable 
endeavours ! 

Rau Venkata Kumara Mahipathi 
SuryaRau, D. Litt. 

Maharajah of 


This book was first begun in the form of 
a lecture. The portion, now covering Section I t 
was read before the Ve^rosalin^ana Yom? Men's 
Association, Rajahmuniry, in the year 1^12, and 
the appreciation which the lecture elicited fr?m 
the enlightened audience of the diy encouraged 
me to continue the work. The poe.n, Kalapuru o - 
dayam, wa* next taken up for review and a close 
and critical study rmsuspact the existence 
of the allegories in the po^ci which have been 
elabjrated by me in this book for tha first time in 
the History of Andhri Literary Criticism, An 
abstract of the matter WAS published by me in 
Telugu in the Telugu A^calemy Joarnatl of the 
year 1 920-' 2 !. I leave it to the A.ndhra scholars 
and critics to appraise the value of my work as it 
deserves. When our great poet and dramatist, 
Kalidasa himself, had to admit that "No man, 
however learned he may bo, can feel confidence 
in himself until he is able to satisfy the scholarly 
world, " what shculJ a man like mysolf say, 
whq can put forth no pretensions to learning or 
scholarship ? 

When the long and elaborate review of 
Kalapurnodayam was finished, I approached W. B, 
Brierley Esq., I. E S., then Inspector of Schools, 
Guntur, and requested him kindly to read through 
my manuscript. With the enthusias n and ready 
courtesy so characteristic of him, he at onco 

acceded to my request and, notwithstanding* his 
indifferent health at the time, closely read through 
the manuscript ^Sections [ an! HE of the present 
book) and made some suggestions here and there. 
I am deeply grateful to him for the trouble which 
he took in regard to a matter with which he was 
not then familiar. His opinion of ray criticism of 
the poem Kalapurnodayam is printed at the bagin- 
ning of the section relating to the poem in this 

I intended to publish the work, so far as 
was done,at the time: but several scholarly friends 
of mine advised me not to publish the incomplete 
work, but to wait till the review of the other two 
poems of the poet was finished and then to publish 
the whole work togettiBr. I f thereupon, took up 
the review of the two poems, Raghavapandaviyam 
and Prabhavati- Pradyumnam, and finished the 
whole work by the end of the year 192*. The 
whole work was revised by me and retyped by the 
end of the year 1934. 

Thus it will be seen that the present work 
progressed, step by step, with intervals and is the 
product of years of study and labour. Whit merit 
it has let the generous public judge and decide. 

Even before the completion of my work, 
I was aware of the great love which the Maharajah 
of Pithapuram, Sri Kajah Rao Venkata Kumara 
Mahipati Surya Rau, Bahadur Varu, C B.E.D.Litt., 
himself a great scholar in English and Andhra 
Literatures, was evincing in the cause of Andhra 


Literature, and,particularly, in the work of Pingali 
Suranarya. I, therefor^, wanted to plica this my 
"Life of Pingali Suranarya, ' before him and 
request the favour ofaparusil. So I requested 
the Maharajah, through my friend, Mr. Jayanti 
Raraayya Pantulu OJaru, B. A. , B. L., the famous 
veteran Andhra scholar and critic. The Maharajah 
was pleased to agree to my request The manu- 
script was submitted for favour of perusal and it 
was returned after perusal *ith a short note 
expressing thanks. I had a great mind to dedicate 
this volume to the Maharajah and sought for a 
personal interview. He was pleased to grant an 
interview : during which there was a long and 
pleasant conversation o i /arious literary topics, 
and, when I requested permission for dedication, 
the Maharajah said that he would consider the 

My criticism of CalapurnoJayam is enti- 
rely different from what was done by previous 
critics and the great poem Ins bean interpreted by 
me from a spiritual point of view for the first 
time. This spiritual interpretation has ofourse 
to be adjudged by scholars an! critics for what it 
is worth. Though the Maharajah has, from the 
beginning, not been convinced abDut this feature 
of my work, yet his magnanimity of nature and 
his great love for Andhra Literature and, particu- 
larly, for the work of Suranarya, prevailed over 
him in the end and he has been graciously pleased 
notcnly to accept the dedication of the book, bu k 


also to bear the expenses of its publication. More- 
over, his gracious love for me and my literary 
labour has been extended even so far as to agree 
to write a c Foreword*to my volume,a favour which 
no Andhra author up to date could receive from 
him, as far as I know, during all these years of his 
literary patronage. Words cannot express how 
much ray heart feels for his gracious love and 
patronage of my work. 

I humbly submit to the Andhra public 
that I consider that, "Kalapurnodayam*' is our 
greatest national poem and that this poem can be 
proudly claimed by the Andhras as a contribution 
to the literature of the world. Whether this claim 
of mine is just or not may be decided by the 
Andhra scholars. What the great German drama- 
tist Goethe sought to do in hts famous dfama 
"Faust" I claim that Suranarya sought to do in his 
own way in his Kalapurnodayam. The two parts 
of"Kalapurnodayam''aro, in essence, similar to the 
two parts of "Faust'' and satisfy the same motives 
in the two poets. What Goethe said to his friend 
Eckermann about the drama " Faust '' applies 
equally,in my humble opinion,to Kalapurnodayam. 
"Faust himself is a symbol , the idealised and 
generalized representative of aspiring humanity, 
it is without strict coherence and unity, but the 
only thing of importance in such a composition is 
that the single masses should be clear and signifi- 
cant, vhiJe the *lcle remains inccn) mensurable 


and, for that very reason, should lure men, like an 
unsolved problem, to study again and agiin." 

In these words of the wisest man of the 
Eighteenth century in Europe I commend the poem 
alapurnodayam and the poet Suranarya to the 
Andhra public and to the wider worll of letters. 

I have striven in my own -humble and 
imperfect way to interpret the secret of Kalapur- 
nodayam as I conceived it and I fervently wish 
that Andhra scholars and critics should appreciate 
the value of my work and do justice to this great 
master-mind, "the prophet-poet'' of the Andhra 
country who strove to visualise and symbolise 
aspiring humanity in this great poem, and give 
his own view of the relation between man and the 
Infinite. In this connection, I request scholars to 
read the Appendix to this book along with the 
metaphysical interpretation explained in the 
beginning of Chapter V, Section III of this bo)k* 

The p:>et,Suranarya,is admittedly origin*! 
and unique in Andhra literature and deserves to 
be known far beyond the limits of Andhradesa. 
Though his dwy^rtlii (double-sense) poe.n Raghava- 
pandaviyam cannot be translated into English as 
a douMe-serise poem for obvious reasons, yet his 
other two poems, Kalapurnodayarn and Prabhavati 
Pradyumnam , may be translated into English, 
at least in a condensed form and brought to the 
notice of all men of letters who can freely enjoy 
genuine poetry, whether of the East or of the 


West. If ftalapurnodayam is an inspiring and 
majestic poem, Prabhavati-Pradyumnan is a 
finely finished and artistic poem and the two 
together are lik* the twin-peaks of Mount Qouri- 
Sankar (Everest) and bear up their author high 
into the rank of the world-poets. 

It is, of course, a truism to say that a 
translation cannot reproduce the original in its 
entirety of beauty and, though non-A.ndhras may 
miss the fine shades of thought and fee) ing so 
easily and tersely expressed by Suranarya in his 
sweet native idiom, yet the marvellous weaving of 
the plots, the subtle intricacies in character draw- 
ing, and the breathless expectancy in narration, 
may, however, be conveyed, in a great measure, in 
a translation of these two poems. 

I feel that I am too old to undertake such 
a huge task and have to leave it to some younger 
enthusiast who may feel the pride of presenting 
to the scholars, both of the East and the West, 
one of the greatest poets of his own country , 
Andhradesa, who possessed, in a large measure, 
that "one touch of n iture which makes the whole 
world kin." 

Pithapuram,\ Tekumalla Achyuta au 

56-4L J M.A..L.T. 






(Ancestry* Early Life and work,) 

I Introductory* I 

II The Sixteenth century in Andhra History. 3 

III Suranarya's ancestry, Genealogy, ) g 
Parentage/ and birth. \ 

IV liis early influences and educatiin. 24 
V Ills first great poem : G-aru ia-Puranirn. 31 


(Raghava-Pandaviyam ) 


I The Patron, Akuviti Peda Venkatadril * 

and his genealogy. ) 

II Raghava-Pandaviyam : its nature 1 .Q 

and novelty. J 

III The Construction of the poem : 1 . * 

facilities and difficulties. J 

IV Tpe poem : an artii icial one, 51 
V Suranarya's Baghava Pandaviyam^ 

and Ramarajabhushanam's Hari- 

sctiandra-Malopakiiyanam compa- 
red as "slesha" poems. 




Appreciation (Kalapurnodayam) 60 

I Introduction : The Genealogy of the 1 gj 

patron, Nandyala Kri^hnam taju. ) 

II The Story. 69 

III The Sources of the Plot. 77 

IV The poem : a three- f >ld allegory. 83 
V The three allegories : Explained in detail. 85 

VI The construction of the po ^m : its \ . Q 
merits and defects. } 

VII The poem cotnpired witli si nilar ) i,* 
poems,both of the Etist and the West/ 

VIII Characterisation 122 

IX His poetic art: its evolution and importance. 1 38 
X His poetic style: its evolution and) 

importance. J 

XI The aesthetics and the ethics of the poem. 193 

XII Religion, Society, polity,etc., in the poem, 203 

XIII The place of the poem in the History ) 

of Andhra literature. J 216 



I Introduction. 221 

II The Story. 224 

III The sources of the Plot : The original! * 
story in the Harivamsam. J 226 

IV ihe new workmanship : dramatic 1 
treatment and psychological analysis J 239 


V His poetic art : its merits and defects. 244 

VI His poetic style : its nature and \ 
perfection in this poem. J 254 

VII Characterisation. 262 

VIII Odds and Ends. 290 

IX The poem compared with contemporary 1 ^ 
Andhra poems. J 

X Its place in Andhra literature 300 


(Conclusion ) 

I Suranarya as a poet. 305 

II Suranarya as a man. 311 

Appendix: Metaphysical allegory : 1 

Further evidenc *. J 317 

INDEX 327 



ERRATA. 347 

Terms and Abbreviations used 

1. Andhra and Telugu are strictly 

interchangeable terms. 

2. Raghava : 


3. Kalap: 


4. Prabha or Prabhav: 


5. Prasnop : 


6. Kavikarna: 


The Life of Pingali Suranarva. 


The History of Suranarya's time; His genealogy 

His Early Life and Education; His first book 

"Garuda Pur an amir ' 



THE field of Aadhra Literary criticism 
has long been neglected. It has been lying almost 
fallow for centuries, Pioneers like the late G. 
Sriramamurty and K. Veeresalingam recently took 
a rapid survey of the region and 
History of plant4d some milestones. Literary 
Telugu enthusiasts, like Mr. P. Ramakrr 
Literary shnayya, Mr. J. RamayyaPantulu, 
Criticism. Mr. M. Ramakrishna Kavi, and 
others have been very busy with 
the pick-axe and the spade and turned up a few 
clods here and there. Though the main part of 
the work is still undone, the Andhra world, how- 
ever, has been fairly able to know something of its 
literary past, more especially, of the great poets 
who stand as the literary landmarks in their na- 
tional history. 

In such rapid retrospect of our National 
Literature, what share of attention did Pingali 
receive jin particular ? His books were 

2 Pingali Suranarya 

reviewed, criticised and transfor- 
History of the med. His Prabandhams were con- 
criticism of verted into dramas. Appreciations, 
Pingali critical and biographical , were 
Suranarya written by some of our present-day 
authors. Mr. Veeresalingam, Mr. 
G. Sriramamurty, Mr. T. Suryanarayana Rao, Mr. 
P. Mallayya Sastry and Mr. C. Ramalinga Reddy, 
M.A. (Cantab) D. Litt. wrote much to interpret the 
genius of Suranarya. The great student and patron 
of Andhra Literature , Sri Rajah Rao Venkata 
Kumara Mahipathi SuryaRao Bahadur Garu,C.B.E. 
DJLitt Maharajah of Pithapuram,has always shown 
an abiding love, particularly, for the writings of 
this great poet, It is thus evident that, of all the 
classic poets, perhaps excepting Tikkana,Suranarya 
received the greatest attention. The lapse of three 
centuries has not dimmed his literary fame. What 
is the key to his great popularity ? What makes 
him so "Evergrean" in spite of changed times, 
changed conditions, and changed literary tastes ? 

This question I intend to solve in my own 
humble way. I read some at least of .what previ- 
ous critics had to say, but they seem to have 
touched only the fringe of the 
The nature subject and did not, except Mr. 0. 
and scope Ramalinga Reddi, go deep into it. 
of my Mr- Veeresalingam directed his 
criticism- acute eye mainly to the chronology 
of the poet. Mr. G. Sriramamurty 

Early Life 3 

thundered his curses upon a certain Pandit Dakshi- 
namurty, but, strange to say, the victim was infi- 
nitely abler than the critic. Mr. Sriramamurty 
could not appreciate the fine literary taste of 
Pundit Dakshinamurty and came out second best 
in his critical performance. Mr. T.Suryanarayana 
Rao ably surveyed the ground of Suranarya's 
poetry and found that it contains rich diamond 
mines but he had not time to dig deep. Mr. C. 
Ramalinga Reddi, with true literary insight, tried 
to estimate the worth of the poet, but the poet 
seems to have been weighed by him in the literary 
scales of the WesU Thus none of these gave us a 
sufficient and true insight into the genius of this 
great poet. The question is still an open one ; and 
any one is welcome to answer it. I am like the 

man described by the poet Kali das a; 

* "I, though dull, yet aspiring for a 
poet's fame, become an object of derision like the 
dwarf who , with outstretched hands , tries to 
pluck the fruit reachable only to a giant. *' 


The Sixteenth Century in the Andhra History. 

Of the history of the Andhra nation, the 
most momentous and far-reaohing in its consequ- 
ences was the Sixteenth Century. It was this 

4 Pingali Suranarya 

century that witnessed huge 
The importance of Andhra armies under the lea- 
the 16th century in dership of the greatest Andhra 
the History of the sovere ign, Krishna Deva Raya, 

tto^itt^f^ victoriousl y swe0 P in g over the 
jayanagaram ^oms, overthrowing ancient dy- 
mpire nasties, and extending the 

Empire of Vijayanagar from Cuttack in the north 
and Goa in the west to Rameswaram in the south. 
It was this century that brought under one Andhra 
supremacy, the Utkalas and the Kalingas, the 
Cholas and the Pandyas, the Keralas and the 
Gangas. The hoary Dravidian kingdoms of 
the south, situated beyond the high water mark 
of foreign invasions, paid homage to this new 
power and accepted, in token of submission, the 
viceroys of the conqueror. The Moslem kingdoms 
of the Deccan yielded one by one to the irresistible 
arms oi the Caesar of Southern India. Enterpris- 
ing Andhras followed in the wake of conquest 
and colonised in the South and in the North. 

The Andhra Language and Literature 
spread into foreign lands and commanded respect 
and admiration. Allasani Peddanna, the poet- 
laureate, was the literary dicta- 
Andhra Literature tor of the age, Even the proud 
in the victor of a hundred battles, the 

Century. great Krisbnadeva, acknowled- 
ged the supremacy of this King 

Early Ufe * 

of letters in his court. Many other illustrious 
poets flourished and sang of the Emperor* s achieve 
ments in immortal verse. Peddanna prepared the 
way for a new kind of Prabandham (Epic) in his 
Manucharitram. Timmanna followed suit in his 
sweet Parijatapaharanam. The impassioned Dhu- 
r jati of Kalahastimahatmyam did not lag behind. 
Nor did the sovereign yield the palm uncontested 
to his bards To the astonishment of the world he 
showed in his Amuktamalyada how well he could 
exchange the sword for the pen. Invincible in war, 
sage in council, a comrade amongst scholars and 
poets, he consolidated an Empire and left it in the 
zenith of its glory. 

Now the curtain rises on another scene. 

Rama Raja, his son-in-law, virtually succeeded to 

the throne of Krishnadeva. An equal in military 

prowess and skill, and, perhaps, as 

The downfall great a scholar and patron of lear- 

of the ning as his predecessor, he was 

Vijayanagara however, inferior in political stra- 

Empire- tegy an( j statesman-like insight. 

His imperious nature loosened the 

links of the Empire. The Deccan Sultans saw 

their opportunity and, sinking their differences in 

the face of a common enemy,combined their forces 

on the field of Talikota [Rakkas Tagdi], and crushed 

the Empire to pieces. It was as if 

"But yesterday, the word of Caesar might 
Have stood against the world: Now lies he there 
And none BO poor, to do him reverence/ 9 

6 Pingali Suranarya 

The same Sixteenth Century was still run- 
ning on in its course. The torn pieces "of the 
Imperial fabric floated here and there in sad 
mockery of its former splendour. The petty states 
of Penukonda, Chandragiri, Anegondi, and others 
lingered on for a time "Like snow-drifts after a 
storm.' 1 


Suranarya's ancestry genealogy, parentage and birth, 

It was in this century so momentous to 
the Andhras, that Suranarya lived and wrote. As 
is the case with almost every great Andhra poet, 

the exact date of his birth can 

Suranarya's never be known. It would be 

date of something, if it can be ascerl^tined- 

birth. with no great interval, the period 

of his boyhood and youth. Even 
on this point, controversy is not laid at rest. Mr. 
Veeresalingam brings circumstantial evidence to 
show that Suranarya must have been a boy or a 
young man in his 'teens when the great Krishna- 
deva was the reigning sovereign at Vijayanagar. 
But Mr. Sriramamurty controverts this statement 
by making a few Ipse Dixits and endeavours to 
prove by means of the Guruparampara (the Gene- 
alogy of the family priests) of the House of m Vija- 
yanagar, that even by the time of Krishnadeva, 
Suranarya must have been in the maturity of life 
as a full-blown poet in the court at Vijayanagar. 

Early Life 7 

Reading between the linos, I suspest that Mr. Sri 
Ramamurty did not convince evan himsait*. He 
seems to have conveniently closed his eye over the 
fact that, by his theory, he place! not less than 
seven generations of Gurus (priests) within a 
period of less than half-a-century. This rather 
extraordinary phenomenon was not touched at all 
by him probably because it might lead to incon- 
sistent conclusions. 

Apart from all controversy, and in the 
light of internal evidence from his poems * and 
Epigraphicai records available, it seems to me 

* The intern il evidence from his poems, and the epi- 
graphical records proving his time of birth have been dis- 
cussed in the appropriate places in the various sections of 
this book, relating to his poems The whole matter is just 
summarised here to focus it in one place: 

(i) The poet speaks of his father as enjoying lands 
gifted by Krishnadevaraya, Emperor of Vijayanagar in 
Nidamanur (Guntur District). The Emperor should have 
granted them either to the poet's father or to his grand- 
father; in any case Suranarya must be considered to have 
flourished after Krishnadevaraya (1509-1530 A D ) 

(Vide Section 1) 

(ii) Timmaraja, the grandfather of Peda Venkata- 
raya, the patron of Raghava-Pandaviyam, was said to have 
conquered Rajahmundry! which. event must have taken place 
during the period of Krishnadevaraya in his Kalinga cam- 
paign. . So, if the grandfather was a contemparary of Krish- 
nadevaraya, the poet Suranarya who was a contemporary of 
the grand-son, must have flourished after Krishnadevaraya 

(Vide Section II) 

8 Plngali Suranarya 

nearer the truth to consider Suranarya as a boy or 
a young man frequenting the court of Kristtnadeva 
in company with his reputed kinsman, the poet- 
laureate Peddanna, and when he grew of age to 
enter the lists of learning and contest for the 
laurels of the poet, the great Andhra Bhoja was 
already taking his long and well-earned rest, and 
the rising genius had to seek for "f resh fields and 
pastures new" in the petty courts of Akuvidu and 
Nandyala. * It is somewhat remarkable that, in 

(iii) Similarly, Naraparaju, the grand-father of 
Krishnamraju, the patron of Kalapurnodayam, fought in the 
battle of Kondavidu and captured the King of Orissa and 
others alive. This event took place during the time of 
Krishnadevaraya. Hence if the giandfather was a contem- 
porary of Krishnidevaraya- the poet Suranarya, who was a 
contemporary of the grandson, must have flourished after 

(Vide Section 111) 

(iv) There are very many inscriptions relating to 
the Nandyala family collected by the Epigraphic Depart- 
ment of Madras and some of them, relating to Krishnamraiu, 
his father Narasingaraju, his stepbrother, Timmaraju, go 
to show conclusively that Krishnamraju lived in the latter 
half of the Sixteenth Century and so Pingali Suranarya also 
flourished about that time- The Inscriptional Evidence is 
quoted largely in discussing the period of Nandyala Kri- 
shnamraju (Patron of Kalapurnodayam) in Section III of 
this book* 

* These two small States were vassals to the Vijayanagar 
Empire and are in the present Karnool District. 

Early Life 9 

the 'Digvijayam' (world-conquest) of Kalapurna 
no reference was made by the poet to the Andhra 
or Karnata kingdom of Vijayanagaram. Is it be- 
cause he was too courtly a poet to bring it within 
the range of Kalapurna's conquest or is it because 
the kingdom disapp ared by the time the book 
was finished ? It is, however, noticeable that a 
graceful compliment was paid by the poet to the 
Andhradesa by making two Andhra soldiers, the 
fencing masters of the Kim* of Kerala. So much 
as regards the chronology of the poet's life* 

In regard to the poet's ancestry and gene- 
alogy we are on surer ground, thanks to the filial 
affection of the poet,who, in dedicating his Prabba- 
vatipradyumnam to his father, traced in great 
detail, the long pedigree of the 
His ancestry family The family belongs to the 

* and Goutamasa Gotra, Apastbamba 
genealogy. Sutra of the Brahman Caste. Go- 

kanamatya, a man of some poetic 
reputation, was the first known ancestor in the 
family and from him through several generations, 
the family, with great fecundity, multiplied itself 
and found homes in the fertile valleys of the 
Godavari and the Kistna and in the hardy high- 
lands of Palnad and Pakanad. ( Please Vide 
Genealogical table herewith attached.) 

* "The renowned family of Pingali Ramaya 
Vho flourished in the neighbourhood of the 

10 Pingali Suranarya 

River Goutami and on the banks of the Kristna 
and that of PingaliGadaya who lived in Palnad 
and Pakanad, and my own family, flourishing 
here, have all become well-known all over as 
the scions of the great House of Pingali Goka 

(a) PINGALI GOKANNA : A mine of 

Agamic learning-was in possession of extensive 
inam lands in Pingali Village; hence derived his 
surname from that village. Had a Gandharva 
woman for his servant and wrote the poem 
Nandaki Varnanain. His wife was barren for a 
long time and worshipped the Sun. The Sun 
appeared to her in the form of a good brahman 
and gave her the plant, Bryonia Grandis (Donda 
Chettu) and asked her to tend that plant in her 
house and said that her iamily would be as fruit- 
ful as that plant. Ever since, her progeny multip- 
lied and spread in all directions like the branches 
of the 'Donda' creeper. 

(b) PINGALI SURANNA: He was inves- 
ted with the royal insignia of a golden umbrella 
and palanquin (by whom not stated). 

(c) PINGALI SURANNA : A poet and 

worshipper of Siva. Married Amalamma, the 
daughter of Velagaleti Araaramatya. 

(d) PINGALI AMARANNA: ( Our poet's 
father) The highest amongst councillors (mantris); 
married Ambamma, a daughter of the Chiruvafia 

Early Ut e 1 1 

family on her father's side and of the Eaohapudi 
famiry on her mother's side; belonged to Qoutaraa 
Gotra, Apasthamba Sutra, and Yajurveda which 
he studied; practised yoga and controlled his pas- 
sions in a way unequalled by other people; was in 
the enjoyment of lands in Nidamanur, given 
by Krishnadevaraya or called Krishnaraya Samu- 
dram,for himself and his descendents;was initiated 
into the worship of Siva by Somaradhya,the son of 
Rajendraguru Swami. 

It would be tedious and unnecessary here 
to dwell more upon this genealogical chain; and 
suffice it to say that in the history ( f the family, 
the following points are prominently seen: 

(i) That the poet Suranarya belonged to 
a long, illustrious and ancestral family with tradi- 
tions converging to a strong focus: 

* "When-so-ever families remain for four 
or five generations in the same villages they be- 
come known afterwards by the names of those 
villages : and their previous surnames will fade 
away. But what a strange exception here 1 'I he 
surname ot Pingali has permanently remained in 
all excellence for the descendants of Gokanamantri 
though they have been living in several places 
from very long times " 

* Jfo. 

12 Pingali Suranarya 

(ii) That the family were, from time i 
memorial, in the enjoyment of lands granted to 
them by kings. 

(iii) That his ancestors were sometimes 
engaged in state-craft and held important positions 
of political responsibility. 

(iv) That the members of his family, 
even from the time of Gokanamatya. were dist- 
inguished for their learning and piety and that 
some of them were poets; Gokanamatya himself 
having been one. 

These facts are also proved by the Amara- 
vati inscription of Krishnadevaraya in which lands 
in Nidamanur were given to a member of this 
family for his learning in the Four Vedas. 

(v) That their attitude towards religion 
was one of tolerance rather than bigotry since, in 
the same family, both Saiva and Vaishnava faiths 
were freely followed though the general learning 
was towards the worship of Siva. 

These tendencies, as revealed by a study 
of the genealogy of the poet, may be borne in mind 
as they formed the hereditary and potential factors 
in the formation of the poet's character, both by 

NOTE; Thus the poet's family was in the enjoy- 
ment of lands granted by Krishnadevaraya in Nidumanuru, 
Without having any more evidence than this, 1 first guessed 
that the Nidumanuru mentioned by the poet, must .have 
been the Nidumanuru now to be found in the Ongole taluq 
about fourteen miles from the town of Ongole; but I could 
not guess who the Krishnaraya mentioned in the verse could 

Early Life 13 

virtue of their presence in his blood and the tradi- 
tional Atmosphere with which they invested his 
house. Heredity is the first asset we bring into the 
world with our birth; and environment is what we 
accumulate during life. Heredity and environment 
are, so to speak, the chief determining factors in 
human character. 

be; and what was my surprise, and I may say pleasure, whe* 1 
some time after, I found an inscription which states 
that Krishnadev Araya of Vijayanagaram granted to some 
Brahmans lands in the village of Nidumanuru belonging to 
the Addanki tract of his empire; which is the same as the 
Nidumanuru of the present Ongole Taluq Evidently the 
Krishnaraya mentioned by the poet, is the Krishnadevaraya 
of Vijayanagaram' It is not known to which member of 
the poet's family Krishnadevaraya granted the lands- Thus 
we have got another important link to show that the poet's 
family lived at Nidumanuru near Ongole for some time, 
which even now is known as Brahmana Nidumanuru. But 
what perplexes me still, and for which I have not yet got 
a rational solution, is the fact that the poet dedicated his 
early worKs-Raghavapandaviyam and Kalapurnodayam to 
the Rajahs of Akuvidu and Nandyal, respectively, both 
situated in the present Kurnool District How and why the 
poet happened to be in those royal courts in early life has yet 
to be explained by research, Possibly after the fall of Vija- 
yanagaram in i;6 5 A I) and the disappearance of the central 
power, these Rajahs who were both kinsmen and feudatories 
of the Imperial dynasty, asserted their independence and 
ruled their respective kingdoms by themselves. The Agra- 
haram lands belonging to the Pingali family in Nidumanuru 
must have been included in the territory of Nandyal which 
was the nearest royal seat of Government to the Guntur 

14 Pingali Suranarya 

The birth place of Surnarya can only be 
guessed with the nearest approach to truth upon 

the materials available for the 
His birth-place present. The poet himself stated, 

as already shown above, that the 

District. Akuvidu was presumably smaller than Nandyal 
as a province. 

The following is the copy of the famous Amaravati 
inscription in which Krishnadevaraya, the Emperor of Vija- 
yanagararn, granted the village of Nidamanur to Brahmans 
learned in the four Vedas in A I) 1515. 

No. 3026. No 3026 

(A. R. No. 272 of 1897.) (A k No 272 of 1897) 

[ J. *. 1515 ] (A D 1515) 

Hal1 Prosperity. The ins- 


cription of Sri Krishnadeva 

2. sfofr'TT'ctfje) r*?3j6o. 


3. X5c 

c . ... . c ir u 

Sri Virapratapa Sri Knsh- 

4. Tms, tr^"4>^?5,iSxneflo nadeva Maharaya who has 

5. TTdabKotf, M TPdftC^tf 9 the titks Maharajadhiraia 

Parameswara, the husband 


of the three Kings, the bre- 


aker of faithless kings, the 

8. *<,- e4ntft^tfMi S 6 terror to ^ mind , 

Early Life 


original stock of the family belonged to the village 
of Pingali (now known as Pinnali in the Palnad 
Taluq of the present Guntur District); from which 
village they derived their family name. But the 









X)> XK 

_^^ , 



rulers of the eight directions 

lhe lord of the Eastern> Sou " 

them and western Oceans, 
the establisher of theYavana 
Kingdom, and the breaker 
of Gajapati left Vijayana- 

conquest, captured the fort- 

_ ,_ . 

ress of Udayagin, 
J & 

Enslaved Tirumalarauta- 

Conquered at one stretch 
Addanki, Vinukonda, Bella- 
mkonda, Nagarjunikonda, 

' Ian g edu ' Ketavaiamandot - 
f orlresseS0 

16 Pingali Suranarya 

branch of the family to which the poet Belonged 
seems to have migrated later on into the Ongole 
Taluq of the same Guntur District; for in the follo- 
wing verse, he speaks of his father as follows: 




22. rf^r^botfa, $-#*3 Tf-O Captured the fortress of 

Kondavidu by means of 

rope-ladders, seized alive 

Vir ibhadhraraya son of 
25. aeTTsfo &{& o er* , p rata p aru( j ra Gajapati, Na- 

rahari Patra, son of kumara 
Hamvira Mahapatra, Mai- 
lava Khan of Rachur, 
28. * S^ f *$&.,*, c5in^g^ uddanda Khan> p u sapati 

oo ^_.-^ *^-.- . v . -.v/a* Rachiraiu. Srinatharaju* 

Jgtf. <jyO*(O~ v Pgj^P DyyjCJO (JO 3C 

Lakshmipatiraju, Janyala 

30. cJ5b9sS55osS^\^ *?< w o^ ^f 

Kasavapatrundu, Balachan- 

81. *ab f tr^fr^&6^sS5odb > dra Mahapatra of the west 

other patra feudatories 

32. ftJDftl^O, 

^ and Manne chief tains, 'gave 

33. <*& ^sS^Qo-O dS$9TS$oo -O 

-s .^ -^ them protectipn, jmd cam? 

Early Ufe 17 

* "To him who has become well-known by 
his enjoyment for himself and his descendants, of 
the Agrabaram lands, famous from Benares to 
Rameswaram, (situated) in Nidumanuru, and gran- 
ted by Krishnaraya with his seal, (or called Kri- 
shnaraya Samudram)" 

84. *6 Btf^TJisfrsfcS^a-sSAMfcj^ to Amareswaram at Dha- 


35. etf^a^db ti*r*Xti&** ranikota. 

In the Saka year 1437 

38. S&JL l&ao^ Jfotffloo, tfsfc 

tfojjft Xti-fr-* Yuva on Sunday, the iath 

37 sr'oooaoTpei^K $&0$ -sr 

. _ ^ ** day of the dark fortnight of 

the month of Ashadha, he 

39. -ga^^*e>35 ^TT-^- performed the Tulapurusha- 

dana (weighing one's self 


-ir^&o o against valuables and gift 


A , \ u u 

. mg them away) on the ban- 

42 e>95 iSn'toaaotfSfcotf^So, x>^o ks of the Krishnaveni river 


48. *, Stfel&tt^ *x * in the P resence God 

* , 

Amareswara and caused his 

18 Pingali Suranarya 

This shows that the poet's father, Ama- 
ranna, with the family, was in the enjoyment of 
lands granted by the Emperor, Krishnadevaraya 
in the village of Nidumanuru. This Nidumanuru 

44. a &1 wSaSori***) &sfc<r*3 queens Chinnadevamma gift 


away a Ratnadhenu < 

45. oa a 

^JS'"^^^ set w^h P^cious stones ( 

46. Xteer-< r< ifc)f> 3-e5"i 

and Tirumaladevamnaa give 

47. dt&dfc^a* "3i6 o^oKTor*^ , j 

,i. o o-^ 4, the Saptasagara dana, 

48. feJ^&vSa, ^fc He then granted the vil- 

49. ae of ^edamadduru to 

. God Amareswara for the 

50. tf^Da^er 4 ^ ^TT 

woiship and food-olfering 

51. <gp<$crlf;69irifc CI-ON 

* for the merit of his parents 

52. * r^* L irtf>o o a 5 Narasanayaningaru and Na- 

53. o^oto c 7p86o ofcj, or gadevi Amma; 

Granted the 


Nidamanuru in Addanki 


sima and the village of 

56. *tf M, e^)o^6 

Valluru in the Ammanabolu 


Early Life 19 

is in the Ongole Taluq of the Guntur District, four- 
teen miles from Ongole. (Vide Inscription .quoted 
above) Pingali, the original native place, of 
Suranarya's family is very near to Kamepalli, the 
native place of Kakunuri Appakavi, and also to 
Bhatrajupuram, the reputed native place of Ra- 
marajabhushana,the rival of Suranarya. (Vide Life 
of Eamarajabhushana in the Tenth Annual Volume 
of Andhra Patrika for the year Siddarthi,) 

58. <&\3 iJSol&ai OKT eight brahmans well-versed 

59. $rfr,r-e>S arfg* in the four Vedas 

and gifted the villages of 


Kothapalli, Togunta in the 

** Ammanabolu sima to his 

6*. tfo;*e>& V^ A en purohits Ranganatha Diks- 

63. & g'&e>*^;&5$er;& hita and Siva Oikshita, who 

64. V^a Kointe were the perf rmers of Vaja ' 

peya and all other sacrifices; 


We bear on our head the 

66. jjo tf^oK^i6. feet of lhose holy 

t . *This explains, I think, why the austere, and conser- 
vative Brahman Appakavi, was so rude to the great and 
noble non-brahman poet, Ramarajabhushana, while at the; 
same time he was so considerate to Suranarya, 

20 Pingali Suranarya 

Suranarya was the eldest of three t sons, 

the others being Amalarya, and Yerranna. His 

father, Amaranna, was, according 

The History of to the testimony of the poet, and 

his family : true to the traditions of the family, 

His father pious, godly and learned. He was 

and brothers* described as: 

67. #jj#EPftjj/6e*o ^}r?o continue these charities, 


Those that interfere with 
this charity or nullify it will 

70. 8$Ao $~&5~u &^>& incur the sin of having slain 

71. tfKfcer 4 ^ tf"dor-ij?"do their own parents, brahmins 

. ^ and cowi, at Benares on the 

o banks of the Ganges, 

78. * rtf-jr^:5^ ot&^StP 

74. 6<&o$ TTii -^grS*? * he continuance of anoth- 

wwr , rf . , er man's charity entails *dou- 

75. dBbo O*>i, f r " ^wSjvAoT 1 * , . . , , . 

Q *- t ' ble merit gained by one s 

76. w*o -r*^ rt d^ofe own c harity; if another's 

77. 9*ro $*to^* i SiftT'Cr''^ gift is taken aw ay the merit 

78. *T ?P^8 ^*f--3! of one ' s own ^ft is lost. 

There is only one sister for 

79. i-. w w^- all Kings< Land given to 

80. <*$H* TT^>co^piB brahmins should not be 

si * i> jb enjoyed or taken, This is a 

OJL* igj i<j l*oi - 

^^ ^ ^^ charity injunction common 

to all kings and must there- 
fore be followed by you at 
all times- Ramachandra thus 
requests all future Kings. 

Early Life 21 

J. '*One who had defeated all his internal foes by 
subduing his senses in a way superior to all 

and as 

2. "One who had shaped his life and conduct accor- 

ding to the rich and fertile Vedas : one who 
was the very embodiment of the unbodied 
Manmatha (Cupid) and whose speech was much 
appreciated in royal courts/' 

Elsewhere he was spoken as 

3. 4i A rambler in the world of Sastras.'* 

4. "One who by his steady and unswerving devo- 

tion to Siva had acquired all knowledge about 
the divinity and legends of Siva.'' 

(Canto I II) 

5. 4< Oi>e whose person had become sacred by his 

strictly following, according to his Varna and 
Ashrama f the rules of the Vedas and the 

(Canto III) 


3. r- 

tte^O^sS^^a^o**)!!^ **&8 j ,S*TF> 9 &r* 

(0. Ill) 


(0. III. V. 152; 

22 Pingali Suranarya 

and as 

6. One who had yearned for the knowledge of 

the Brahman." 

In the V Canto he was described as 

7. "One who became praiseworthy by his know- 

ledge resulting from his sincere worship of 
God, performed with the sacred leaves of the 
Bilva (Bengal Quince) and Tulasi (Holy Basil) 
(the former an emblem of Siva and the latter, 
of Vishnu) etc.*' 

It is thus evident that he was neither ex- 
clusively Saiva nor exclusively Vaishnava but 
was a "Brahma Vidyanurakta''-a true Vedantist- 
one whose faith was founded on the bedrock of 
Divine Unity undisturbed by the varying accidents 
of attribute and name. 

Though the social, moral and religious 
aspects of his father's life were abundantly illumi- 
nated, yet nothing more than a single reference or 
two was given in regard to his calling in life. 
Whether he was actively employed in any mini- 
sterial or administrative service and, if so, under 
whom, cr whether he, as a Niyogi and an Amatya, 
was but a potential factor in the conduct of state, 
cannot be definitely stated. He was shown as 



$*,tr$e> -Otfrog 

Early Life 23 

1. "One who remained loyal in the royal 
courts." that is to say, as one who led the life of a 
courtier in some royal court; but, having been in 
possession of lands, he seems to have been in af- 
fluent circumstances and above dependence on 
some patron for his livelihood. 

Of 'the poet's mother, Ambamma, very 
little was said by him 

2. " AMBAMMA, the better half of Pingali 
Amaranna, was of spotless beauty and character 

and rivalled, in the enjoyment of 
His mother- wealth and fortune, Lakshmi, 

the mother of Manmatha , and 
Parvati (the spouse of Siva;." Except this single 
verse, nothing more is to be found about her and 
we are compelled to let judgment go by default 
as to what kind of influence and how much of it 
was exercised by her on the poet's mind. Her 
Pedigree on her father's and her mother's side were 
described in Prabhavatipradumnam-Canto 1, V. 38 
f Please vide table above), but that does not add 
much to our information about her. 

A. %>s6$a 


24 Pingali Suranarya 


His Early Influences and Education. 

The biographical memoirs of great men 
bear evidence that parents exercise much influence 
upon their children in the most impressionable 
period of their lives. The formative power is 

supplied sometimes by the father 

The father's but,more often, by the mother. The 

influence parents divide between themselves, 

on the poet. in proportion to the energy of their 

character, the stimulating influ- 
ence on the future heroes. In the case of Sura- 
narya, he seems to have owed more to his father 
than to his mother. His father was, as we have 
seen, a remarkable person; pure, austere, scholarly, 
worldly wise, and gentle in manners and speech. 
By his tact and ability he kept up a sweet and 
well-ordered home. The brothers loved on- another, 
and were dutiful and affectionate to their parents. 
(Vide Prabhav. . anto I, verses 8 & 9) Suranarya, 
being the eldest son and the first hope of his 
parents, naturally received their best care. The 
father was the "guide, philosopher and friend', to 
his son. It is not unnatural to suppose that the 
father attended partly, if not wholly, to the educa- 
tion of his first son, on whom the duty of continu- 
ing the traditional reputation of the family prima- 
rily devolved. This looks neither strange nor 
absurd to those who have opportunities to observe 
the ordered life in a genuine Brahman house-bold 

Early Life 25 

even under modern conditions; and what is true 
in the* twentieth century was more true in the 
sixteenth, when the Brahman life and traditions 
were as yet unaffected by the cross-currents of 
foreign cultures and civilisations. 

Let us now see what was the type of 
education imparted to the boy in those times. Soon 
after literacy in Sanskrit and Telugu, the boy 
was made to get by heart the Araarakosa, the 
Sanskrit Lexicon. Along with 
His early this exercise of memory he had 

education- to con his daily lessons in the 
Raghuvamsa, and so on till he fi- 
nished his Sanskrit Kavyams and Natakams. 
After receiving sufficient grinding in Sanskrit 
Literature, the young pupil, particularly if he was 
a Niyogi, began his study of Telugu classics such 
as Mahabharatam, etc., till he finished the last 
Prabandham available. Of course, books, (Cadjan- 
leaf books) could only be obtained with difficulty 
and on a limited scale, (Vide Bala Nagamma 
Katha and others lor glimpses of ancient school 

Suranarya must have been an ardent and 

devoted pupil as he exhibits a very wide and deep 

acquaintance with the literature and the sciences 

of the day. Not only the literary 

Internal evidences classics were laid under contri- 

of his vast bution but also the sciences of 

scholarship Tarka, Mimarasa , Sankhya and 

Yoga His quick and precocious 

26 Pingali Suranarya 

mind seems to have assimilated materials from a 
variety of sources. The poet, speaking about 
Manikandhara, in his Kalapurnodayam, says. 

1* "Having completely listened to the 
Nyaya Sastra of Goutama, the Vaiseshika Sastra 
of Kanada f the dualistic doctrines of Vyasa, the 
Purvarnimamsa of Jaimini, the Yoga Sastra of 
Patanjali and the Sankhya of Kapila. 

(Kalapurnodayara, 0. IV, V, 32) 

Again describing the culture of Suchimukhi 
the poet says": 

2. "She (the she-swan) discoursed on the 
Sastras of Kanada, Goutama, Kapila, Patanjali, 
Jaimini and Vyasa and, having fully examined 
the doctrines of the other schools, refuted them 
with great skill and stated her conclusions at the 
end/' (Prabhavatipradyumnam, C. IV, V. 61.) 

(Kalap. IV. Verse 32.) 

2. r% 


(Prabha, IV. V. 61) 

Early Life 27 

3. " The she swan exhibited her deep 
knowledge of the epics, dramas, rhetorics, musio 
and erotics, so well that the king of the Rakshasas 
exclaimed in admiration. (Ibid. C. IV, V. 64.) 

Thus the poet shows his acquaintance of 
the Vedic Sciences of the day. 

Music he seoms to have cultivated more 
as a handmaid to religion and speaks of it in 
words reminiscent of Milton's language "the 
sacred and home-felt delight'': - 

4. "Is not the art of music the best of 
all arts ? and, if it should ba devoted to God 
Krishna, how much would I praise it ! " 

(Kalapurnodayam, C. II, V. 61) 

Yoga Sastra was , however, his ruling 
passion ; for it gave him the necessary exercise 
and tone to his mind. His love for it was so 

3. A. 


(Prabha. IV. Ver. 64.) 
4. * ................................. 

fcfijowo "Co tfoftg&tfo 

t)&"4<0 oSo o&J 

(Kalap. II. Ver. 6L) 

28 Pingali Suranarya 

much that in his Kalapurnodayam, C. IV, he 
out of his way to explain it in detail, though it has 
very little bearing on the story. If poetry required 
the study of man and nature, Yoga required the 
contemplation of the Infinite. Suranarya lived 
neither too much in the world nor too much out 
of it. A happy golden mean he struck; which 
gave to his subtle genius a peculiar flavour of 
wisdom not possessed in equal measure by any 
other Andhra poet, excepting Tikkana. Logic 
was the framework, Religion the marrow, and 
Philosophy the breath of life of his poetic tem- 

This solid groundwork was prepared under 

the direct inspiration of a father* to whom, in after 

life, when he fulfilled his high destiny and his 

name became the "Yoke-fellojv of 

His filial Time'' he felt drawn by the golden 

devotion. links of grateful affection. The 

verses, in which he refers to his 

father when dedicating to him his sweetest and 

finest work "Prabhavatipradyumnam,'' are full of 

deep sincerity, devout affection, and gentlo pathos 

indicative of a heart full of tender recollections. 

1. '! have previously written in an ad- 
mirable and worthy manner, Garuda Puranam, 

Early Life 29 

Raghav&pandaviyam, Kalapurnodayam, and many 
other Telugu works ; but they could not give me 
full satisfaction since they lacked the descriptive 
accounts of my ancestors." 

2. "Have not the Vedic scholars declared 
that the father is the god for his children T And 
will it be proper on my part if, like this man and 
that man, even after knowing it, I do not think of 
our father as most worthy of adoration ?" 

3. "My younger brother, Earrana, glad- 
dened my father's heart by performing *rarpanas f 
or pouring oblations of water, to him in Gaya, 
Benares, Prayaga, Srisaila, Haridwar, Jagannath, 
Ujjain, Dwaraka, Ayodhya, and Mathura, and also 
in such holiest of holy places, like Naimisa and 

4. I should also worship my father by 
doing something within my power; hence by dedi- 

2. t. ScA^ctfbo 

fcodfc^fc sro<3o^&aj!3 rfr 

4. r. 

30 Pingali Suranarya 

eating a work to him I will keep up his fame on 
this Earth by the grace of God. 

(Prabhav. C. Verses 6 to 9). 

Is it then a figment of the brain if, from such clear 
testimony, we portray in outline, the sweet home- 
liness of nature, the enduring strength of affections, 
and the essential spirituality of life, of this illus- 
trious and incomparable poet? 

Suranarya emerged from the Statu Pupillari. 
Like the busy bee, he culled from many sources 
the sweet essence of knowledge. Classical Litera- 
ture and metaphysical sciences en- 
His early riched his mind with an abundance 
character and of ideas. More than this, they gave 
temperament to his mind tone and discipline. 
His character was once for all 
formed; it was rooted in the bed-rock of spiritual 
culture. The poetic instinct in him like-wise recei- 
ved a new inspiration. He looked on life not 
with the eyes of a gay young man but like one to 
whom the sensuous has its obverse in the spiritual. 
He thus combined the rigour of Dante with the 
grace of Petrarch- a restraint of thought, feeling 
and speech even in his wildest flights of poetic 

Before venturing on work on a large 
scale, Buranarya, like every poet, great or small, 
must have practised his 'prentice pen f in the com- 
position of smaller pieces. We 
The poet's have his own statement in regard 
apprenticeship to such miscellany " Also wrote 
any number of Telugu poems 9 ' (Pra 

Qaruda Puranam 3 1 

bhav. C.'I. V. 6). The patron Peda Venkatadri 
in describing him said in Raghavapandaviyam 

1 "bince you possess the great fame of having 
composed several great Prabandhams;'' and also 

2 "One possessing the abilty to compose extempore 
poems '' It might be that they were either too 
small or too Juvenile tr be worthy of mention in 
his later and more important works. 


His first great poem : the GARUDAPURANAM 

The first great work of which mention 
was made by him was the translation of the 
Garuda puranam. This book is not extant now. 
If it is not entirely lost, the hand 
His firsj g^at of Research might drag it out 
poem: the from some yet unknown cemetary 
Garudapuranam of books, Here we may well pause 
a while and see what his first 
work means. We may pertinently ask within 
ourselves why the young poet, still at the thres- 
hold of his career, made this selection and if 
there is any special , significance in it. Was it 
because all the other Puranas were rendered into 
Telugu verse before his time and the Garuda alone 
left untranslated ? Or was it in any way peculiarly 
interesting to him and was he drawn to it by any 
strong cords of affinity ? We may answer the first 


32 Pingali Suranarya 

question at once by saying that, out of the eighteen 
Puranas, only two or three appear to have been 
translated into the Telugu verse before the time of 
Suranarya. Why then was this selection made ? 
Was it simply fortuitous ? 

To answer this question, we must know 
what the substance of the Garuda is. Of all the 
eighteen Puranas, the Garuda is the most peculiar. 
It is the one Purana which elabo- 
Reasons for rately deals wjth the soul, its 
its nature and connection with the 

translation body; the composition of Heaven 
and Hell; the law of Karma and 
the Theory of Re-incarnation and such kindred 
matters dealing with the soul and the body in 
their mutual relations and their respective rela- 
tions with the Spiritual Universe. it is this 
Purana that' contains the ritual observed by the 
Hindus in the cremation of their dead and it is 
even now read by the religious -minded Hindus 
when deaths take place in their homes; for it is 
believed that such perusal will confer much reli- 
gious merit (Punyam) upon the departed souls. 

Now let us consider awhile the full signi- 
ficance of this matter; the young poet still in his 
youth, or just out of it (for as it was his first big 
work, he could not have done it in his old age) 
and the striking fact that he began to translate 
this peculiarly grave book at that early age. There 
were no romantic stories of love and not much of 
the eroti<; or the heroic sentiments, but there 

Garuda Puranam 33 

an abundance of ghastly matters relating to Death 
and After and yet he evinced a strange fascina- 
tion for it ! 

The truth appears to be that, from early 
life, the spiritual side of thought was developed in 
Suranarya, it may be, under the fostering care of 
a father already known to us as godly and spiri- 
tual. His religious studies and practice of Yoga 
might have given his mind a distinct metaphysi- 
cal turn. He must have become absorbed in the 
questions of life and death, the theory of the 
soul, the law of Karma, and so on. It was, I 
think, , with such predilections, he took to the 
translation of a Purana whose chief interest is of 
a spiritual or sepulchral character. 

It may perhaps be said, some patron might 
have asked the poet to translate the book and 
he might have simply carried out his patron's 
wish. Where then is the scope for choice ? Let 
us consider the point. It was already shown that 
Suranarya's family were in well-to-do circumst- 
ances and that he was not dependent on any 
patron for his livelihood. What amount of inde- 
pendence he could show and what terms of equality 
he could claim, in his relations with patrons, can 
be seen from his next work, Raghavapandaviyam. 
Peda* Venkatadri, the Rajah of A.kuvidu, at whose 
request he wrote Kaghavapandaviyana ^ddregsa4 
fke jx>et as follow;-- 


34 PfAgali Snranarya 

1. "Though I have clearly noticed so 
much ability in you, yet, as you have no great 
desire for remuneration (money), I hesitate to 
suggest to you anything. But, Ol devotee of 
Siva ! do you not like to compose Raghavapanda- 
viyam in dedication to God Sri virupaksba for 
His blessing? 

So saying with sweet words full of mode- 
sty and respect '' 

Thus we see that though Peda Venkatadr i 
was desirous of getting Raghavapandaviyatn writ- 
ten and dedicated to himself, yet he hesitated to 
tell him so because the poet was not swayed by 
considerations of worldly gain. Consequently Peda 
Venkatadri had to take the round-about way of 
requesting the poet to do the work by appealing 
to his devotion to the God Virupaksha to whom 
the poet would like to dedicate his work. If 
Suranarya could exhibit such independence in his 
later life, he could be much more so wheii he was 

1. *. &&$ wjotfxe^ WftSotwXc -rno-OcJfco fesfaBS" ^Sen 

Oaruda Puranam 35 

younger and had less consideration for worldly 
advantages. He must, therefore, have translated 
the Qaruda Puranam more as a matter of his own 
choice than otherwise. * 

His next great work was 'Raghavapandaviyam.' 

* My friend Sri Vemuri Viswanatha Sarrna, M A. 
informed me that, in Podili dandakavile (Local Record 
of Podili) mention is made that Pingali Suranna wrote 
41 Nirmama Puranam' 1 . Nirmameswara is the local Saiva 
deity in Podili Guntur District. So Nirmama Puranam must 
be the Sthala Puranam of the place* It is not available 
now, It might be one of the Early productions of this poet. 

Jhe Jiife of pingali 




The patron, Akuviti Peda Venkatadri and his genealogy. 

is the second of the poems of Suranarya 
which, according to his own estimation and 
that of his contemporaries, were considered to be 
yery important, We have seen already that he 
mentioned his translation of the 
Raghavapanda- Qaruda Puranam as his first im- 
viyam-the portant work and next, his Ra- 
second great ghavapandaviyaoi, and afterwards 
poem- Kalapurnodayam and Prabhavati- 

Pradyumnam in order. These 
stand out prominently like mountain peaks in the 
midst of a field of incessant and multifarious lite- 
rary activity. 

Raghavapandaviyam was written at the 
suggestion of Peda venkataraya, Chifcf of Akuvidu, 
in the Kurnool District and dedicated to the God 
Virupaksha in the city of Vijayanagar. Peda 
Venkataraya was a Samanta of theVijayanagaram 
Emperor and had his Jaghir in Akuvidu. 1. The 

38 Pingali Suranarya 

poet speaks of him as a very ira- 

Family History portant personage in the* court of 

of his patron Vijayanagar on account of his 

Akuviti Peda valour, wealth and virtues. * The 

Venkataraya. genealogy of this patron is not of 

a particularly illustrious character. 
Immaraja, fourth in remove from this Chief, was 
the founder of this family. Nothing worthy of 
notice, has been mentioned either about him or 
about his son Bhavaraja but his grandson, Imma- 
raja II (the grandfather of this Peda Venkataraya) 
was described as the conqueror of Rajahmundry 
This is a very interesting fact which may help us 
to some extent in settling the vexed question 
whether Suranarya flourished during or after the 
time of Krishnadevaraya. It is a well-known fact 


[Worshipper of \ ImmarajaX^Lakshmamba. 

Sri Venkatesa]/ | 

Bh a var a jaX^Pola m ba, 


[Conqueror of \ Immaraja>< w Kasavaraba. 
Rajahmundry] | _J 

Bomma. Timma><Timmaraba. 

Peda China Venkataraya. Veakata 

Venkataraya. Venkata varada. 

(Patron) raya. 

Raghavapandaviyam 39 

that Rafohmundry was conquered for the first 
time by Krishnadevaraya bat not by any of his 
predecessors. Krishnadevaraya conquered the city 
during his Kalinga campaigns. Evidenty Akuvidu 
Timmaraja's grandson, Peda Venkataraya, patron 
of Suranarya, must have lived after Krishnadeva- 
raya. Consequently Suranarya also must have 
flourished after the time of Krishnadevaraya. 

The relations between Peda Venkataraya 
and the poet, as described in the poem, are inten- 
sely interesting in as much as they enable us to 

peep into the inner history of 

Relations between the poet's mind. The poet's high 

the patron and sense of self-respect , bis inde- 

the poet- pendence, his unworldliness and 

his piety have been naively 
brought out in the terse but straight preamble to 
the poem. Peda Venkataraya could not even dare 
to ask him to dedicate the poem to him as he knew 
that the poet had no idea of making money So 
he requested him to write a poem and dedicate it 
to the God Virupaksha, worshipped by the poet 
and himself. The poet undertook it as much to 
show his devotion to the God as to show his sense 
of obligation to the patron. This fact was, as we 
have seen, piquantly expressed in the verse quoted 
near the end of the previous section. 

40 Pin gali Sura nary a 


Raghavapandaviyam : its nature and novelty. 

The poem is a dvy&rthi one, which means 
that it is capable of two meanings. The two 
stories of Ramayanam and Mahabharatam are 
combined in this single poem in 
The poem-a such a way that each verse is cap- 
double mearrng able of two interpretations : One 
one. relating to the Ramayanam and 

the other to the Mahabharatam* 
The adventures and exploits of Rama and those of 
the Panda vas have been described in the same 
verses. The language of each verse can be 
interpreted, on the one hand, to describe the 
events in Rama's life and, on the other, to des- 
cribe those in the life of the Pandavas. The 
whole poem may be read as composed on thte story 
of Rama alone, or again, on the story of the Panda- 
vas alone. Such a work is possible, I think, only 
in the Indian Languages with their peculiar ways 
of agglutination and combination of words 
(Samasa) and the variety of meanings which a 
great many words possess. 

In his preamble, the poet explains with the 
self-consciousness of genius, the reasons why he 
took up the execution of such a novel 
Reasons for poem, Inspired with zeal towards 
writing his God and his king, he longed to 
the poem write a poem holy in substance 
jipvel in 

Raghavapandaviyam 4 1 

he was in this frame of mind, Peda Venkataraya 
(who had insight enough to perceive genius) came 
forward with his counsel partaking more of an 
exhortation than command and pleasing to a young 
and daring poet, by its naive appeal to the egotism 
of superior worth. 1 "It is considered 1 ' said Peda. 
venkataraya "a difficult feat to write a single 
verse with two-fold meaning, but. if a whole poem 
is written like that, will it not be a miracle in 
scholarship ? Moreover, Telugu poetry is said to be 
wonderful but who is there competent to intertwine 
in one poem the two stories of Rama and the 
Panda vas? It is said that the poet Bhimana long 
ago composed such a poem, but this statement is 
only a mere tradition and nobody has ever seen the 
work. Now you have already a wide celebrity as 
being the poet whjo wrote several great works and 

8i orio 

IbsSofioc TP^ t5*oao^ao9^ 73-* 

42 Pfngali Suranarya 

also as a master of language and I think you have 
the necessary skill to compose this two-fold poem." 
To this encouraging ad vice, the poet replied, 2"True, 
it is impossible even for the greatest Telugu poets 
to combine in a single poern the two stories of 
Rama and the Pandavas but your words of praise 
and encouragement are intransgressible and,know- 
ing that I have the sympathy of scholars, I will 
endeavour to show ray power in the execution of 
this skilful work. I will exhibit all possible 
methods of combining Sanskrit and Telugu words 

*M^$w <S 
J&sfce&o 'f tf 

Raghavapandaviyam 43 

with a view to bring out the double meanings, 
sometimes merely punning upon words and some- 
times, playing upon the sense, and so on. All-be-it, 
when one reads through the poem, his mind should 
be concentrated, for the time baing, only upon one 
story but, if he should divert his attention to the 
sense of the other, he will catch neither. So he 
should read the poem each time as if it were a 
single-sense poom. To repay my debt of gratitude 
to my patron, to express my feeling of devotion to 
my God, and with the hope that all good men 
would see only the little merit that may be found 
in tliis work, 1 have ventured to perform this 
impossible task. 1 ' 

' Thus with a curious blend of modesty and 
audacity, he began to compose his immortal poem. 

44 Pingali Suranarya 


The construction of the poem*. 
Facilities and difficulties. 

It must be stated at the very outset that 
though this poem of Suranarya is quite original 
and new, so far as Andhra literature is con- 
cerned, (Bhimana's composition, though prior, 
having been entirely lost and become thus a mere 
tradition), it is not original in the sense that it 
had no model whatsoever in the country before 
this was executed. As a matter of fact there were 
two poems of this kind and un this very subject in 
Sanskrit, written, one in the 8th century A. D. f and 
the other in the 9th century A. D. Kaviraja 
a famous Sanskrit poet, wrote a dvyarthi (double- 
sense) poem, Raghavapandaviyara in Sanskrit, in 
which the two stories of Ramayana and the Maha- 
bharata were welded together. This poem is in 
thirteen cantos and contains slokas almost equal 
in number to the verses in Suranarya's work. Th o 
second poem, 'Dwisandhana' or 'Ragbavapandavi- 
yam' was written by another Sanskrit poet, Dha- 
nanjaya, in the 9th century A. D, Thus Surana- 
rya, of the 16th century, had two Sanskrit poems 
on this subject to give him guidance in his compo- 
sition. But it must be admitted that a comparison 
of his work with the previous two Sanskrit 'poems 
reveals the fact that he owed to them nothing 
more than the general plan of the poem and that 

Raghavapandaviyam 45 

he differed very materially from the two in the 
actual weaving of the stories. Thus even here he 
was no mere imitator but showed his originality 
and power to stand on his own legs. 

The construction of the poem reveals to us 
the astute artistic sense of the poet. He seems to 
have taken up the two stories separately and ascer- 
tained beforehand their natural points of contact. 
Identical or similar incidents in 

The construction them have been considered the 
of the poem: Suni- natural joints by which the two 

larities between stories could be held together. 

the Ramayanam The mQst i mportant are ._ (^ I n 

and the Maha- both< the kingg went a _ hunting . 

bharatam. King Dasaradha in the R amaya . 

nam and King Pandu in the 

(2) In both there was a grievous shooting 
accident due to an unfortunate mistake. In the 
Ramayana, Dasaradha killed an ascetic boy 
mistaking him for an elephant, and in the Maha- 
bharatam, Pandu shot dead an ascetic couple, 
mistaking them for a pair of wild deer. 

(3) In both, the kings were without sons 
and also without the prospect of begetting them by 
natural means. They had, therefore, had to seek 
superhuman help. 

(4) In both, a feat of archery was made 
the o*r deal for winning the heroine. Rama broke 
the bow of Siva and won Bita and Arjuna shot at 
the fish mark with bis arrow and won Droupadi* 

46 Plngali Suranarya 

(5) In both, the natural heir to the king- 
dom was deprived of his right of succession through 
the advice of a scheming and wicked person and 
sent to live in the forests for a long period. 

(6) In both, the suffering heroes were the 
types of goodness and thoir assailors, the agents of 

(7) In both, the heroes had to kill a lot of 
Rakshasas and other demons while roaming in the 

(8) In both, the heroes sought a settlement 
for peace before taking to arms and sent therefore 
an embassy to the enemy. In the Ramayana 
Angada urged on Ravana the restoration of Sita 
and, in the Mahabharata, Sreekrishna advised the 
division of the kingdom. 

(9) In both, there was a bloody war bet- 
ween the hero, the type of Goodness, and his enemy, 
the type of Evil, and since victory lies on the side of 
Goodness, the hero triumphed in the end and regai- 
ned, in the one case, his wife and in the other, his 

(10) In both, the heroes reigned for a 
time, performed Rajasuya and, at the end, having 
become disgusted with this worldly life and its 
turmoils and troubles, ascended to heaven. 

These and other similar features' were 

taken advantage of by the poet and the progress of 

the two stories was BO arranged as to enable natural 

Raghavapandaviyam 4>j 

cohesion in such places. The 
His workmanship, plan of the poem on these lines, 
Points of while affording a certain amount 

vantage- o f ease to the autho% gave what 

is more important, an air of 
naturalness to this truly artificial poem. These 
points of contact are also interesting from another 
point of view. The practical identity of these inci- 
dents in the two stories enabled the poet to free 
himself for a time from the shackles of linguistic 
feats in slesha and breathe freely so that he could 
allow his poetic muse to express herself in her 
natural tono and grace. In such places the real 
poetic power of Suranarya could be seen to the best 
advantage. They are liko oases in a det>ert of arti- 
ficial verbal jingles and puns and reveal the hidden 
depths of the poetic feeling and its fervent expre. 
ssion which Suranarya possessed even at a compa- 
ratively young age. 

Taking advantage of these natural hinges' 

the author built up the other parts of this artificial 

poem by verbal workmanship His extraordinary 

knowledge of Sanskrit and Telu- 

His ease and gu languages, combined with a 

cleverness born instinct for making ingen- 

Examples- i ous puns, enabled him to perform 

this task with astonishing ease 

and cleverness. Without ransacking the lexicons 

of thp'two languages for synonyms, he was able to 

bring out the double meanings by giving, in most 

cases, a little ingenious twist to the ordinary collo- 

48 Pingali Suranarya 

quial words. It is, of course, impossible to illustrate 
this fact to the English or a non-Andhra reader by 
showing examples but the Andhra readers will find 
adequate enjoyment in the discovery of the rich 
potentialities of their sweet mother tongue. Obse- 
rve, for example, how easily and neatly in the 
following verses the double sonse is brought 

(i) (Enungani Karamarayaka) 

(ii) (Vini yatanin danapai nidukoni^ 

(iii) (Thamasathi rasikatha vilasanamulu) 

The first of those examples may be exa- 
mined to see how the slesha has been brought out. 
The splitting in one case is 1 Enun kanikaramu 
arayaka (I not showing pity) and in the other 
2 Enungu ant kararnu arayaka (thinking it an 
elephant and not much minding it). This is a 
very fine instance of the marvellous ease and 
dexterity of the poet in weaving these double 
entendres and many such instances are found 
broadcast in the whole poem. In cases of this kind, 
there is a real intellectual pleasure - a pleasure 




Raghavapandaviyara 49 

due to the discovery of the secrets 

The poem - an of the language and this pleasure 

intellectual is as natural as the pleasure which 

pleasure- a scientist feels when he has been 

able to discover a hidden affinity 

or principle in nature. If the whole poem could be 

composed with such colloquial and natural ease, 

the work, notwithstanding its essentially artificial 

character, could yet give the reader an unmixed 

intellectual pleasure of an elevated kind. But it 

is observed that the poet in several places had to 

subject himteelf to various shifts and contrivances, 

owing to the peculiar difficulties he 

Difficulties had to encounter from which he 

encountered, extricated himself only with clever - 

ness but not clearness, 
(i) One important kind of such difficulties 
which clogged his movement at every turn lay in 
the proper names of the leading personages of the 
two stories. Since each verse has to be interpreted 
in every word so as to suit either story, these 
proper names gave him no little trouble. Names 
like Rama, Lakshmana and Dasaradha, relating 
to the Rdmayanara, could not mean the same in 
the Mahabharatam and, vice versa, names like 
Arjuna, Bhima, Duryodhana, relating to the Maha- 
bharatam, could not mean the same in the Rama* 
yanam. Unfortunately these names are of very 
frequent occurrence, as they are of the leading 
personages in the two stories. Thus, the poet was 
compelled to get over tfyis difficulty by introducing 


50 Pingali Suranarya 

a number of adventitious ideas and associations 
which gave to some of the verses a mechanical 
appearance with little or no poetic feeling. 

(ii) A second defect noticeable in the 
poem relates to the development of the plot. For 
purposes of combining the two stories in their 
natural points of identity, the poet had to arrange 
the other incidents in the two stories according to 
his own convenience rather than according to their 
importance. Some important events like the 
marriage of Sita or Droupadi, were unduly shor- 
tened, whereas the duel between Rama and Parasu- 
rama was over-elaborated, but it must be admitted 
that, whatever the difference in the emphasis, the 
events themselves in the two stories have been 
faithfully narrated in their original order. 

(iii) To these may be added the fact that 
Borne important omissions and some unwarranted 
additions were made in .the narration of the two 
stories. Incidents like the construction of the 
bridge Ramasetu and the Coronation Ceremony in 
the one story and, in the other, the important 
embassy of Sanjaya and the treachery of Salya 
have been omitted and, under unwarranted addi- 
tions, may be shown incidents like the visit of 
Narada during the duel between Rama and Paraqu- 
rama not found in the original story. But these 
are mere straws floating on the surface. 

Raghavapandaviyam 5 1 


The poem: an artificial one. 

The poem is not on the whole a piece of 
genuine poetry. Its character is avowedly artifi- 
cial. The object being the combination of the 

two stories of Rama and thePanda- 
The poem-an vas * n one an d the same poem, the 
artificial one- production is a triumph of the 

linguistic skill rather than of the 
poetic emotion of the poet. In fact Suranarya 
himself does not claim for his work any other 
merit. He called it a Bhasha Kavyam or a lingui- 
stic poem; 'but, he never pretended to think that it 
is a poem representing to any great extent his rich 
poetic genius. 


It will be interesting in this connection to 
read the opinion of Prof. A. A. Macdonnel, M. A M 
Ph. D,, regarding the Sanskrit poem, Raghava 
Pandaviyam, written by Kaviraja: 

u The culmination of artif icialty is attained 
by the Raghava Pandaviya, a poem composed by 
Kaviraja who perhaps flourished about A. D. 800. 
It celebrates simultaneusly the actions of Raghava 
or Rama and of the Pandava princes. The compo- 
sition is so arranged that by the use of ambiguous 
words and phrases the story of the Ramayana and 
the Mahabharata is told at one and the same time. 
The same words, according to the sense in Which 

52 Pingali Suranarya 

they are understood, narrate the events of each 
epic. A tour de force of this kind is doubtless 
unique in the literatures of the world." 

(A, A. Macdonnel Sanskrit Literature). 

A similar opinion may be ventured in the 
case of Suranarya's performance too. Generally 
speaking, there is not much intrinsic poetry in it; 
but, in particular places, as already noted above, 
the genius of the poet peeps out in its glory and 
sheds the ethereal effulgence of true poetry. Take, 
for instance, his long description of the Spring 
Season in Canto II and mark how sweet, how 
gently undulating is the rhythmic flow of the 
verses, how appropriate the ideas, and how melo- 
diously attuned is the language ! The whole of it 
is like a ketaki bud which eventually blossomed in 
the full fragrance of his last poem Trabhavati- 

1. "Then the Spring Season set in : atten- 
ded equally in front and rear by the other seasons, 
and decked with innumerable bushes emitting 
beautiful and sweet fragrance from buds and 
flowers, like the fragrance of the rut of elephants, 
with bees clustering in all corners, and making 

Raghavapandaviyam 53 

incessant buzz and with Cupid tirelessly shooting 
his arrows of flowers." 

(Raghavapandaviyam, C. II, V 4) 

Even in the main 'slesha* portion (save 
in some peculiarly difficult situations) his per- 
formance is not unworthy of a true poet. For ins- 
tance, the hunting scene in Canto I or the embassy 
in Canto IV are typical of the re- 
His skill in markable ease with which he could 
4 slesha' or weave the two stories and yet in- 
Running' f use m to the work the full spirit 
of poetry. The verses in these 
places flow so smoothly and make such plain 
sense that for the tim@ the reader is charmed to 
think that this is all a single story poem whereas 
all along the poet has been very subtly weaving 
the two stories together. As a great Pandit once 
remarked, Suranarya is a goldsmith of consummate 
finesse : his rivets and joints are so finely execu- 
ted that they escape ordinary scrutiny, 


Suranaryu's 'Raghavapandaviyam' and 

Ramarajabhushanam's Harischendra-Nalopakhyanam 

compared as 'slesha' poems. 

. The one Telugu poem that challenges com- 
parison with this' poem is the 'Harischendra-Nalo- 
pakhyanam' of the poet Ramarajabhushana. Both 
the poets were contemporaries and lived and wrote, 

54 Pingal! Suranarya 

practically speaking, , within 
Ramarajabhushana sight of each other. Ramaraja- 
his rival the author bbushana was under the patro- 
of 'Harischendra- na g e o f Alia Ramaraju, the son- 
Nalopakhyanam'. i n .i aw of King Krishnadeva- 
raya; and Pingali Suranarya 
was under the patronage of Akuveeti Peda 
Venkataraya, a great Jaghirdar of the Vijayana- 
garam Emperor. So it is beyond doubt that the 
two poets must have known each other just as well 
as they knew Alasani Peddana, the chief Court-poet. 
If *Vasu Uharitram' was written by Ramarajabhu- 
shana in rivalry to the 'Manucharitram' of Pedda- 
na, his 'Harischendra-Nalopakhyanarn' must have 
been written in rivalry to the 'Raghavapanda- 
viyam' of Suranarya. The priority of Suranarya's 
work may be inferred from the fact that he men- 
tioned in its preface only the traditionary work of 
Vemulavada Bhimakavi and no other. 

It would be a matter of great interest to 

compare and contrast these two 

The two poets contemporaneous poems written 

compared, on two different topics but on the 

same lines and in the same spirit 

manifestly in rivalry with each other, 

I. Each poet selected for his theme a pair 
of stories containing a number of similar incidents 
and situations. These were made use of as'points 
of contact in welding the two stories together. 
The stories, selected by Suranarya are, however , 

Raghavapandaviyam 55 

more vast and eventful and the difficulty felt by 
him was rather how to condense them within the 
limits of a Prabandham ; where as, in tho case of 
Ramarajabhusbana, the selected stories were more 
even and less spacious and the difficulty he had to 
tackle was rather how to extend the material to 
cover the range of a Prabandham. Each task was 
peculiarly suited to the genius of the respective 
poet. Suranarya was an expert in condensation and 
Ramarajabhushana in amplification and they ac- 
quitted themselves in a way worthy of their great 
intelligence and capacity. 

A careful scrutiny of their work, however, 
discloses the fact that Suranarya showed here, as 
elsewhere, greater shrewdness in arrangement and 
a greater skill in seizing upon points of vantage so 
as to giye as much natuaralness to this artificial 
poem as it is possible to do under the circumst- 
ances. This however is a matter of individual 

2. In regard to tho manner of execution 
difference of opinion is equally possible due to 
difference in taste. But it is the duty of a critic 
to put matters squarely in their true perspective 
and proportion and leave judgment to the reader 

In a consideration of this nature, the follo- 
wing two points should be borne in mind as they 
help in clearing up misconceptions before arriving 
at a judgment. 

56 Plngali Suranarya 

(1) The two poets showed from the begin- 
ning of their literary career a decided predilection 
for the Slesha or punning style and continued more 
or less so till the close of their lives ; but with this 
important difference, viz,, that whereas Suranarya 
gradually emerged into the genuine or vyangya 
kind of poetry by ridding himself of Slesha as 
much as possible at every stage, the other gradu- 
ally grew more and more fond of Slesha till at the 
end of his literary career he produced a work 
entirely in Slesha or punning. Thus it will be 
seen that, while Raghavapandaviyam was one of 
the earliest works of Suranarya, Harischendra- 
Nalopakhyanam was one of the latest works of 
Ramarajabhushana. We are thus comparing the 
early performance of one poet with the latest of 
the other. The one was a young pioneer and had 
to cut his own track while the other, an experi- 
enced traveller, followed in a beaten path. The 
genius of the one was creative and that of the 
other was imitative. The imitator almost always, 
if he be a capable man himself, can avoid the 
defects of the original and improve upon its merits. 
Thus he is in a position of groat advantage. Just 
so was Ramarajabhushana. He could avail him- 
self of his rival's strong and weak points and 
brought out a work wicn shows improvement in 
some respects. 

Another point which non-suits compariso n 
ane leaves the decision to iniividial taste and 

Raghavapandaviyam 57 

judgment is that the two poets differ radically in 
their art and style. The style of 
Differences in Ramarajabhushana ia usually flo- 
workmanship r id and sonorous. He loves the 
and style, grandioso diction full of long com- 
pounds couched in sweet and melli- 
fluous Sanskrit. The language is majestically 
flowing but with a corresponding lack in depth of 
thought A rolling oceanic music, more varied 
than in Srinadha, gives an air of sublimity to his 
poetry and, in the artistic side, the verbal jingles 
and figures of speech in which he often indulges, 
furnish an ornamental brilliance quite enchanting 
to the mind. In the micUt of this music and orna- 
ment so pleasing to the ear and fancy, alas how 
little there is to appeal to the soul I 

With Suranarya it is widely different. 
Terseness of expression, compactness of thought, 
and a felicitous use of colloquial words are, it was 
already said, some of the more important features 
of his style. Redundancy and circumlocution are 
carefully avoided. The exquisite melody of his 
verses is the result of a spontaneous flow of fine 
Telugu words rather than the high-sounding San- 
skrit compounds. Except in his partiality for the 
'Slesha' he had little in common with Ramaraja- 


Each poet, therefore, followed his own 
style and taste in the composition of 

58 Pingali Suranarya 

these two dwyarthi Prabandhams. The'Hari- 
scb endr a-N alopakhy anam was 
The two poems written mainly in flowing San- 
compared, skrit compounds and the double 
meanings were brought out 
chiefly with the help of Sanskrit words. It is well 
known to scholars that Sanskrit words can be more 
easily split and often have more than one mean- 
ing. Thus Ramarajablmshana depended more 
upon his vast knowledge of the contents of the 
Sanskrit lexicon than on his own ingenuity. On 
the other hand, Suranarya made use of simple 
Telugu words and brought out the double meanings 
by a rery dexterous process of splitting and com- 
bining. His "Slesha" is more difficult to discover as 
it is more elusive. In the verses of Ramarajabhu- 
shana there is often much redundant matter jffhich 
must be accepted on sufferance as having some- 
thing to do in the structure of the poem. But in 
the case of Suranarya (except in very difficult 
places which are not many) this charge cannot be 
made. He has a positive hatred for vapid out- 
pourings and measures his thought and expression 
with the scrupulous and careful economy of a 
conscious artist. 

In the case of Raghavapandaviyam there 
was a more troublesome difficulty than in the case 
of Harischendra-Nalopakhyanam. Suranarya, as 
was already noticed, had crowds of personal 
names to use in his poem, which, of course, had to 
be punned upon to proJuoe doable meanings. In 

Raghavapandaviyam 5t 

the H#rischendra-Nalopakyana>n the difficulty 
was not so great as the nu nber of parson il namoa 
was considerably leas. So the versus in the Hari- 
schendra-Nalopakhyanaru run oa more smoothly 
and are less handicapped in the matter of intelligi- 
bility in the two directions. With a less extensive 
range in story to traverse, and less troublesome 
obstacles in language to overcome, Ramarajabhu- 
shana could more freely indulge in his characteri- 
stic alliteration and descriptive wealth. Conside- 
ring all these facts it has to be said that Surana- 
rya had a harder task than his rival to perform. 
If Suranarya bears away the palm as the greater , 
artist, fiamarajabhushana deserves our commen- 
dation as the greater linguist, so far as these two 
poems are concerned 

Pindiprolu Lakshmana, in his 'Ravana- 

dammiyam', comes nearer to the genius of Surana- 

rya than any other Telugu poet who wrote a 

dwyarthi poem. Lakshmana belongs to the 18th 

century and is thus a very recent 

Pindiprolu poe t. A detailed comparison 



unnecessary for purposes of the 

present volume and is therefore not attempted 


I have read with gr eat pleasure the inte- 
resting book on the "Kalapurnodayara'' of Pingali 
Suranna that has been recently written by Mr. T* 
Acfeyuta Rao, M, A. L. T. 

His work seems to be somewhat a new 
departure in the realm of Telugu Literature, He 
has dealt most fully with his subject. He has 
given an outline of the story discussing it both 
from a moral and a literary point of view and he 
has also dealt fully with the life and times of 
Pingali Suranna himself. The story is an absor- 
bing one which well deserves the treatment it has 
received in this book; and I hope Mr. Achyuta Rao's 
book will be the precursor of others of a similar 
type, dealing with ancient Telugu literature, writ- 
ten not only by himself but by other Telugu 

W. B. Brierley I. E. S. 

(Formerly) Principal, 

Government Arts' College, 






Introduction: the genealogy of the patron 
Nandyala Krishnam Raju. 

HE next great work of the author after Ragha- 
vapandaviyam is Kalpurnodayam. This is, 
in my humble opinion, his magnum opus, wherein 
his peculiar genius is abundantly 
The patron- evident. It was dedicated to Nan- 
NandyalaKri- dyala Krishnam Raju, a lineal 
shnam.Kaju-His dewondant of Arveti Bukka Raju 

family history . 

and a cousin of Alia Rama Raju 

and Tirumal Raju the virtual successors of Kri- 
shnadeva Raya to the throne of Vijayanagaram. 
This Nandyala Krishnam Haju ruled in the latter 
half of the Sixteenth Century at Nandyal, r a town 
in the present Kurnool District and on the main 
Railway line from Masulipatam to Marmugao.* 

* Inscriptions relating to the royal family of Nandyala 
are to be found scattered in the Kurnool and Cuddapah 
Districts- Most of these inscriptions have been collected 
by th* late' Colonel Mackenzie and Catalogued along with 
other inscriptions by him in a special Volume of 
inscriptions. 1 fonud in this Volume many inscriptions 

62 Pingali Suranarya 

He was a Vaishnava by faith and loved to, patro- 
nise letters and arts. His family tree is given 
below as shown in Kalapurnodayarn from which 
we see that he belonged to an ancient family that 
played no inconsiderable part in Andhra political 
history and also in the patronage of Andhra 

(a) ARVETI BUKKA :- a celebrated gene- 
ral under Saluva Narasimha, who/like Narasaraya, 
linked his fortunes to the House of Vijayanagara 
and eventually happened to establish an Imperial 
dynasty named Aravidu dynasty in Vijayanaga- 

relating to Timmaraju the step-brother of our Kri- 
shnamKaju and a few of Krishnamaraju himself. The 
step-brother, Timmaraju, w^s ruling at Gandikota when 
Krishnamaraju was ruling at Nandyal. Pandit Malladi 
Suryanarayana Sastri garu of the Andhra University, in his 
Preface to the Kalapurnodayam, recently Edited by him 
in a variorum form and dedicated to the Maharajah of 
Pithapuram, disputed the fact, determined by Veeresa- 
limgam and others, that Krishn amaraju belonged to the 
latter half of the i6th century and pushed him in to the 
first half of the i;th century on the strength of a reference 
made to his name by Matla Anantabhupala in his Siddha- 
vattam inscription dated V I)- 1605 which is published in 
Extenso in Or- S- Krishnaswami lyengar's "Sources of 
Vijayanagar History," The learned Pandit's arguments 
for fixing the date of Krishnamaraju in the first, half of 
the 1 7th century cannot stand any close examination* In 
the first place, it is not safe to conclude that Rri$hnam 
Raju was alive in A, D. I6o<; simply because his name is 

Kalapurnodayam Patron.^ N. Krishnamraju 63 

(b) NARASINGA., the third in the line, 
was the first to make Nandyala his capital and 
thus assume the name Nandyala as the house-name 
of his dynasty. 

(c) NARAPPA conquered at Kondavidu 
the King of Utkal, Barid Sbah and Kut<Jb-ul-Mulk. 
(Vide account below). 

(d) TlMMAR AJU - a poet - His works are 
not known. 

(e) KRISHNAMARAJU- The patron of 
Suranarya; KalapurnoJayarn was dedicated to 
him. He was a great patron of letters and fine 
arts. He belonged to A,troya gotram and was the 
disciple of Vaishnava guru, Srinivasacharya, son 
of Sudarsanacharya, of the family of Tiru-nala 

found in an inscription in which the author of the Inscrip- 
tion was recounting the Exploits of his whole lifetime 
including his authorship of the poem "Kakutsa Viiayam, 1 ' 
The Inscription only shows that Matla Anantabhupala was 
alive in A. D. 1605 and that he was dreaded at some time 
previous to A D. 1605, by Nandyala Krishnamraju, but it 
does not show that Nandyala Krishnamraju was still alive 
in A. D. 1605, or much less ruling in Nandyal at the 

Again, the learned i'andit believes only this in- 
scription and either disbelieves or suspects as spurious 
certain other inscriptions which happen to show that 
Nandyala Krishnamaraju lived in the latter half of the 
1 6th century. This kind of critical estimation is certainly 

64 Pingali Suranarya 

It will be seen from the above genealogy 
that Narapparaju, the grandfather of Krishnaraju, 
the patron of our poet, fought at Kondavidu 
against the king of Utkala (Orissa), Barid Shah, 
and Kutub-ul-Mulk. it is also stated in the same 
verse 0. 1, v. 33 that the Kiug of Orissa was taken 
alive by Narapparaju, This battle of Kondavidu 
was f aught by the timperor Krishnadevaraya in 
1510 A. D. against Prataparudra Gajapathi, the 
King of Orissa, who was, as we see now, aided by 
the Muhammadan Sultans Barid Sh ih, and Kutub. 
Shah. This information was also given in Pari- 
jatapaharanam by Mukku Timmana (Vide Canto 
I, v. 21). Jn this battle Prataparudra's*' son, Vira- 
bhadra Gajapathi was taken alive along with a 
number of generals of th* army of the King of 
Orissa and the Sultans. The scene of battle and 

unhistoric and cann t be appreciated as a correct attitude 
towards research The Pandit says "There is an inscrip- 
tion dated A. D. 1570 which shows that his (Krishnam 
raju's) father, Narasingaraju, was ruling at Nandyala. In 
that case how can Krishnamraju rule at Nandyala in A. D- 
1560 ? However, it is true thit there are one or two in" 
scriptions which give scope for such a false impression. 
But I could not get true copies of those inscriptions. I 
have seen some recent writings which doubt the anthen- 
ticity of those inscriptions (E. G. V. Rangacharya's Ced, 
Dts. Inscr Vol. LI and Ind- Ant. P 96, &c). Agajn the 
learned Pandit says "Timmaraju, step-brother of Krshnam- 
raju granted in A, D. 1568 a piece of land to a local goddess 
and with the help of this, one may or may not believe 

Kalapurnodayam Patron : - N. Krishnamraju 65 

the names of the generals captured alive have* all 
been given in the Amaravathi inscription of Kri- 
ehnadevaraya quoted in Extensa as a footnote in 
the first section of this book. Thus it is evident that 
Narappara ju who claims to have captured the King 
of Orissa at Kondavidu must have led the chief 
army under Sri Krishnadevara ya, directed against 
the King of Orissa and obtained a signal victory 
for the Emperor of Vijayanagar* If the grand- 
father Narapparaju was a contemporary of Kri- 
shnadevaraya (1510-1530 A. D.) his grand-son, 
Krishnaraju, must have flourished about 1560 to 
1590 A. D. or in the latter half of the Sixteenth 
century. Thus, as in Raghavapandaviyam, we 
have also here another historical proof to show 

that Thimmaraju was ruling in Gandikota as representative 
of bis father: but the inscription which says that this 
Timraaraju was already ruling there in A. D* 1547 cannot 
be believed So also the inscription that Krishnam Raju 
granted a piece of land to Chennakesava Swami in A. D* 
1558 cannot be believed. We may know that those 
two statements are doubtful and mistaken." In this way 
the learned Pandit lightly, almost frivolously, brushed 
aside every evidence that did conflict with his own pre- 
conceived opinion that Nandyala Krishnamraju lived in the 
first half of the i;th century. It is certainly wrong to 
believe one inscription and disbelieve certain other inscrip- 
tions unless these are proved by substanti al evidence to be 
spurious. The statement that the Pandit saw in recent 
hisforical writings that these inscriptions which created the 
false impression about Krishnamraju's time as being the 
Second Half pf tjie i6th century have been doubt*4 by 

66 Pingali Suranarya 

that Suranarya flourished subsequent to Krishna- 
devaraya and in the latter half of the Sixteenth 

Kalapurnodayam is so called because the 
hero of the story is Kalapurna. It may be con- 
tended that the title is not appropriate, for the 
following reasons:- 

(i) Kalabhashini [afterwards born as Ma- 
dhuralalasa] , the heroine of the 
The "title* story, is the central character and 
of the poem : the moving spirit of the whole 
its reasons- story and the poem would have 
been more appropriately named 
after her. (ii) The poem is noticeably an inven- 
tion in outline of Bana's Kadambari and Bana 
named his work after the heroine. / 

ethers also does not seem to be correct- In his enthusiasm 
to support his opinion that Krishnamraju lived in the first 
half of the i7th century, the learned Pandit has, I am 
sorry to say, not been fair either in his presentation or his 
interpretation of the abundant material available. The 
Pandit's statement that Krishnamraju's grand father Nara- 
paraju defeated Kutub-ul-mulk in A D. 1548 is incorrect. 
Kutub-ul-mulk, Sultan of Golkonda, died in A. D. 1543 r 
there-about. The only two battles fought at Kondavidu in 
which the Vijayanagar Emperor engaged the combined 
forces of the Gajapathis and Deccan Muhamm admins were 
in A. D- 1517 (Krishnadevaraya) and A. D. 1536 circa 
(Achyutadevaraya)' So, in neither case, it is possible to 
fix the event in A. I). 1548. Again the verse 33 (Canto l) in 

Kalapurnodayam Patron:-N t Krishnamraju 67 

. But, on the other hand, there are other 
reasons which might have borne weight in the 
poet's mind for naming the poem as it is:- 

[i] The Tales of Kalapurna. * the hero f 
are from the beginning, made the chief pivot on 
which the story turns. They alone have the power 
of giving "religious merit'* (Punyam) to the reader. 


ol ro 

73* "Qct&o^oC e 

CJ ^ <c3 

200, 201.) 

which the success of Naraparaju at Kondavidu was men- 
tioned may have to be interpreted, I think, as follows; 

Kutub-ul-mulk who was constantly threatening the 
Gajapathis and the Barid Shah was defeated by Naraparaju 
in the wonderful battle of Kondavidu, etc. '1 his interpre* 
tation is borne out by the references made about Kutub-ul- 
of Golkonda, by Addanki Gangadhara Kavi in his 
So whether we refer to th e 

68 Pingali Suramrya 

[ii] The poem was admittedly intended by 
the poet to be a great allegory and for the 
purpose of allegorical significance, the name Kala- 
purna, which carries a double sense in the word 
-KALA' is more appropriate. * Kalapuraa' may 
mean "the one full of splendour (the full moon)'' 
or "the one full of knowledge." 

famous battle of Kondavidu (A. L>. 1517) in the time of 
Krishnadevaraya, or to a similar battle of Kondavidu (A,D. 
1530) When Achyutadevaraya had to save his kingdam 
from the combined attacks of Gajapathis & Muhammadans 
the date must be earlier than 1543 as Kutub-ul-mulk died 
in or about A, D* 1543- 

Again, the Pandit says that Krishnamraju's youn- 
gest grand-father Chinna Obalraju gave land to Ahobala 
Swami in A, I). 1548. This is also wrong, Chinna Obal- 
raju is not a grand-father, but only an uncle, or a cousin of 
Krishnamraju for there are two persons bearing that name 
in the family pedigree one an uncle the other a cousin of 
Krishnamraju. But Krishnamraju's youngest grand-father 
was KUMARA Aubilraju. In using these names one must 
be very careful to see that the exact name is used but not 
a mere equivalent as such use leads to unfortunate errors. 
Thus almost every statement made by the learned Pandit 
in his arguments to show that Krishnamraju belonged to the 
first half of i7th century and consequently Suraaarya 
also belonged to the same period, can be shown to be 

Now I give clear data to show that Krishnamraju 
lived in the latter half of the 16 th century, (i) tiie Pandit 
says that when the step-brother Timmaraju was f uling at 
Gandikota in A, D* 1569, his father Narsingaraju was 
ruling at Nandyala, as there js an inscription pf his tfate^ 


The Story. 

In the city of Dwaraka, the capital of 
Sri Krishna, onoe there lived a courtezan, named 
Kalabhashini, a young, beautiful and highly cul- 
tured damsel. Narada, with his disciple, Manikan- 
dhara, was, on one occasion, com- 
The story ing down from the sky to pay a 
of the poem. visit to Sri Krishna and, as he was 
approaching the earth, he happened 
to see Kalabbashini and her attendants, delighting 
themselves by swinging on the creepers. Narada 
was struck with their beauty and exclaimed that 

A. D. 1570. As against this opinion there is an inscription 
in Mackenzie's Vol. No- 97 P. 83, which clearly states 
that * Mummidinayudu, counsellor of Nandyala Krishnam- 
rayulu, exempted the weavers of the Village Choutapalli in 
S. 1484 (A. D, 1562), So that they could build houses 
freely". This clearly shows that Krishnamraiu was ruling 
at Nandyala in A, D. 1562. I hope the learned Pandit will 
not consider this inscription also as spurious, 

(2) The learned Pandit stated that the step-brother 
Tiramaraju is an elder brother to Krishnamraju. This is 
quite wrong- Verse 8t Canto I, F. 22 of his own Edition 
clearly states that thisTimmaraju is younger than Krishnam 
Raju, If the younger step-brother could rule at GandikoU, 
in about A. D. 1560, cannot the elder brother Krishnamraju 
rule 'at Nandyala at about that period ? Thus the contention 
of the learned Pandit that Krishnamraju belonged to the |*t 
half of the iyth century is disproved by clear evidence 

70 Ptagali Suranarya 

they had no equals even among the Apearas of 
Heaven. These words were overheard by Rambha 
and Nalakubara who were just then flying in a 
vimana, not far from the earth, talking of a certain 
great man, Kalapurna. Eambha resented the re- 
mark of Narada and a witty conversation followed 
between the two, Narada in the end suggesting 
with a smile that it might be that, on some day, 
even the deep unbroken love between Rambha and 
Nalakubara would be disturbed when a woman 
appeared with the exact features of Rambha and 
a man with the exact features of Nalakubara. 
Eambha fluttered, and went her own way with 
Nalakubara. When Narada with Mamkandhara 
descended into the garden of Kalabhashini, she 
(Kalabhashini) paid her respects to the sage and 

from the inscriptions, and the poem itself. Tippmaraju 
seems to be a more capable ruler between the two: as, firstly, 
on account of- his special merit he might have been placed 
in charge of that extremely hazardous fort of Gandikota, for 
Gandikota, it must be remembered, is almost as important 
a strategic centre as the fort of Kondavidu or of Udayagiri, 
in the eastern frontiers of Vijayanagar Empire, and, secondly, 
as the poet speaks so eloquently and so much about his 
military valour and achievements that he reminds us of his 
grand-father Naraparaju himself, the hero of the Kondavidu 
battle. It might be that when Timmaraju was ruling at 
Gandikota & Krishnamraju in Nandyal, their father Nara- 
singaraju might have been alive and issued some inscrip- 
tions himself. There is nothing wrong in such a consider- 
ation. Narasingaraju might have handed over his dominion 
in bis old age ; one part to Timmaraju and the other to 

KalapuraodayamThe Story 71 

asked him about Kalapurna, saying that she over- 
heard the conversation between Rarnbha and 
Nalakubara and between himself and Kambha. 
Narada refused her request lest he should be born 
as a mortal on the earth. He observed her love 
towards Nalakubara and her consequent jealousy 
towards Rambha and resolved to satisfy her desire 
and punish thereby the arrogant Rambha. 

Kalabhashini became, at her request, a 
personal attendant on Narada and the three began 
their musical studies in the harern of Sri Krishna, 
since Narada wanted to excel Tumburu in a forth- 
coming musical competition. After her pupilage, 
Kalabhashini took leave of Narad a and returned 

Krishtjamraju and himself have practically retired from 
public life. 

After such clear evidence as shown above I think 
it is superfluous to add any more evidence- However} I 
mar add for the benefit of the reader a few more indisput- 
able inscriptions relating to the Nandyala family and other 
evidence germane to the matter, which fix up indirectly the 
time of Krishnamraju and Suranarya, i No. 26, Page 222. 
Reign of Sadasivaraya- The Village of Tumupadu-granted 
by Auballyyadeva, Maharajah, son of Nandyala Singarayya 
Deva S. 1466 (Sobhakrit) A 0.1544. This Auballayya 
was an uncle to Krishnamraju. 

2, No. 63, Page 75. Reign of Sadasivaraya 
Nandyala Naraparaju, son of Narasingaraju granted the 
Village, Yenagudi, to God Ahobalaswami in S, 1470 (A, D * 
i$4S) Gwdikota D *, This Naraparaju could not be the 

72 Pingall Suranarya 

While she was once amusing herself on 
thevina (lute) in her garden, a Siddba, named 
Manisthambha, mounted on a lion, descended from 
the sky towards her and caused surprise in her by 
relating her love for Nalakubara and her jealousy 
of Ram b ha and all that took place between her 
and Narada. By means of his powers of clairvo- 
yance and clairaudience, the Siddha informed her 
that Manisthamba was performing penance in the 
Nandana garden, that Rambha was sent by Indra 
to spoil his penance and that Nalakubara was also 
present in the garden* Kalabhashini desired to be 
taken over there. The Siddha accordingly took 
her into the Nandana garden but brought her to 
the temple of the Sakti Mrugendravahana (Durga) 
where he wanted to sacrifice her in order to obtain 

grand-father Naraparaju but a cousin-brother Na/aparaju 
grand son of Kumara Aubala who was youngest grand-father 
of Krishnamraju already refered to above. 

3, Most of Timmaraju's inscriptions have been 
issued during the time of Sadasivaraya Emperor of Vijaya- 
nagar(A. D. 154215)8) and since Timmaraju is younger 
than Krishnamraju it can be safely presumed that Krishnm- 
raju belonged to the same period, Matla Anantabhup ala in 
his Siddhavatam- Inscription cited above speaks of the 
Emperor Vira Venkatapathiraya reigning at Chandragin. 
The period of his reign is A, D. 15851614- Ananta was 
the right hand man of this Emperor (Vide the same inscrip- 
tion). Savaram China Narayana in his Kuvalayaswa^Chari- 
tram speaks of his patrcn Narayanaraju as a commander 
under Srirangaraya A, D 1572 1585 this same Veera 
Venkatapatiraya and also as an admirer of MatU Ananta 

Kalapurnodayam The Story 73 

kingly.power by the favour of the goddess. This 
impending doom Kalabhashini learnt, to her great 
grief, from an old female devotee at the temple. 

Just when the bidhha aimed a blow at the 
neck of Kalabhashini the old woman interposed 
her neck and received the blow and thereby 
became transformed into a young and beautiful 
woman. The goddess Mrugendravahana, disgusted 
with the cruelty of the Siddha, flung him and 
Kalabhashini, far away, and they together dropped 
into a bower. The Siddha tried to outrage her 

Bhupala. Thus Narayanaraju & Matla Ananta were con" 
temporaries in Vira Venkatap^thiraya's time (i.eO the latter 
part of the i6th century. So Krishnamraju who feared 
Matla Ananta must belong to the same period. 

(4) Last but not least. 1 have been permitted by 
the well-known authority on the History of Vijayanagar, 
Dr, N. Venkataramanayya Garu M- A% Ph D. of the Madras 
University, to state in advance that he has given strong 
evidence in his " Further Sources of Vijayanagar History " 
ready for publication by the Madras University, which 
shows that Nandyala Krishnamraju ended his life in capti- 
vity at Chandragiri, by about A. D. 1596. 

It seems to me that the Nandyala family were, 
after the death of Sadasivaraya in A. I). 1567, out of 
favour with the throne of Vijayanagar, as it was seized by 
Tirumalraya, who was, their cousin and belonged to the 
younger branch of the Arveti family So the Nandyala 
family,, having been in opposition to the Emperor at 
Chandragiri, were deprived of their authority by the Matla 
chiefs and the Recherla chiefs who continued to be loyal to 
the Vijayanagar Kroperor at Chandragiri. 


74 Pingali Suranarya 

modesty but Kalabhashim's cries brought 'out a 
man looking exactly like Naiakubara. The Siddha 
fled away. Kalabhashini , so long desirous of 
Nalakubara, found her opportunity and in the 
shape of Rambha retired with him into a shaded 
bower. Soon after, the real Rambha came to 
them and the two Rambhas quarrelled with each 
other for the possession of Nalakubara. Nalaku- 
bara at last found out that tho second wo nan was 
the real Rambha and Kalahhashini was cursed by 
Rambha to die by means of a sword. As soon as 
this scene was over, a man exactly like Nalaku- 
bara came to them and it was the turn of Rambha 
to find out which of them was the real Nalakubara* 
Another comic scene ensued and at last by means 
of the reference to the tale of Kalapurna, she 
found out that the second man was the real Nala- 
kubara and the falso Nalakubara, who was no 
other than Manikandhara himself, was cursed by 
the real Nalakubara to die soon. All this scene 
was noticed by Manisthambha from a distance and 
when they all met at tho temple of the goddess 
and related their stories to one another, Kalabha- 
shini and Manikandhara recognised each other 
and felt happy to learn that thoir secret muttnl 
love, so long unrevealed to each other out of fear 
of Narada, "bore fruit under the blessing of that 
sage which he enigmatically imparted at the^time 
of parting. 

The young lovers, now husband and wife, 
were, in the midst of their deligtu, distressed to 

Kalapurnodayam The Story 75 

find themselves under a curse. Kalab'iashini , 
with the courage of a true-heartad woman, made 
up her mind to die and bagged Manisthambha to 
kill her with his sword. Bat Manistharabha re- 
fused her prayer saying that his wife Sumukha- 
satti (the erstwhile old woman who saved Kala- 
bhashini from death) begged him not to use the 
sword against her. 60 Manikandhara was requda- 
ted by all to carry out the unpleasant task. The 
gentle Manikandhara felt horrified at the proposal 
but his importunate wife prevailed on him to rid 
her of the ever impending curse. Her last prayer 
was to be the wife of Manikandhara in her next 
birth also and to be a model of chastity like 
Sumukhasatti. The sword did its work, but the 
Goddess Mrugendravahana, pleased with the cour- 
age and devotion of Kalabhashini, wrought a 
miracle and resurrected her at once and Kalabha- 
shini found herself in her own home in Dwaraka. 
Manisthambha and Sumukhasatti went away on a 
pilgrimage. Manikandhara resolved to end hi? 
life by falling from a precipice of the Srisaila 
mountain and hurried to the place. Just when he 
was about to take the fatal plunge, a young and 
beautiful woman, Abhinavakoumudi, came flying 
up to him, wildly crying for help against a 
Rakshasa who was in hot pursuit after her and 
discharging arrows. With the sword given by 
her,. -Manikandhara opposed the Rakshasa and 
in the conflict that ensued both died by each 
other's hand. 

76 Pfngal! Suranarya 

Manikandhara was born as Kalapurna to 
Manisthambha, and Sumukhasatti at Kasarapu- 
ram and miraculonsly grew at once into a young 
man. The king of Kasarapuram, Satwadatma by 
name, abdicated the throne in favour of Kalapu- 
rna and became his prime minister. A certain 
Haihaya king, Madasaya, with his wife Rupanu- 
bhuti and his minister Dhirabhava, attacked Kala- 
purna and suffered discomfiture at his hands. 
Madasaya, with his entourage, settled down as a 
feudatory at the court of King Kalapurna. About 
this time, Kalabhashini was born as Madhurala- 
lasa, daughter to King Madasaya and Queen Rupa- 
nubhuti. When she was an infant, not two 
months old, she narrated in the presence of King 
Kalapurna and his courtiers the previous history 
of herself, King Kalapurna, and the others and 
informed the king that it was ordained by Brahma 
that she should wed Kalapurna in this birth. The 
royal infant grew to be a young woman. King 
Kalapurna, who already had Abhinavakaumudi 
for his queen, forgot, in course of time, all about 
Madhuralalasa. Madhuralalasa was secretly pin- 
ing away for love of Kalapurna and was becoming 
hopeless of ever seeing her lord. But happily a 
hunting accident brought them face to face and 
Sang Kalapurna on enquiry recollected that she 
was Madhuralalasa and determined to marry her. 
Madasaya and his wife consented to the match. 
The royal wedding took plaoe with great pomp 
and ceremony. By his two wives, Abhinavakau- 

Kalapurnodayam The Sources 77 

mudi and Madhuralalasa, King Ealapurna had two 
sons, Suprasada and Sarasa, respectively. The 
king and the queens, who were great devotees of 
Vishnu, lived long and reigned over a joyful and 
happy people, 


The Sources of the plot. 

It cannot be definitely stated at present 

whether the story was invented by the author, 

wholly or partly, or adapted by him from any 

Purana or story book In his 

The story prologue, Suranarya simply says 

adapted or that he intended to write a story 

invented ? which is : 

J. "Sublime in the wonderful weaving of 
an unprecedented or novel story, which is fresh in 
the erotic sentiment, 'and which creates a desire to 
hear on account of the description of sacred and 
good things.'' 

Since the word 'apurva* is to be inter- 
preted as 'not old 9 the presumption is reasonable 
that the story was invented by the author. In the 
absence of any evidence to the 
may be considered as having 
sense, that Jit is not wholly or 
from qny book. 

78 Piogali Suranarya 

But the fact that the story was an inven- 
tion of the author does not preclude the considera- 
tion as to how far the poet was indebted to others 
for the materials used. No poet, great or small, 
was ever born like Minerva in full panoply of his 
own. Originality does not mean a complete 
departure from the ways of other men or an utter 
ignorance of the thoughts of others. A literary 
man, like any other, may reasonably inherit from 
the past and yet .preserve his own individuality. 
Shakespeare was an original genius notwithstand- 
ing his imitations and adaptations. Kalidasa 
borrowed from the past and is still the perpetual 
sovereign of literary Indn. 

In composing the story of Kalapurnoda- 

yam, Suranarya appears primarily to have adopted 

the leading ideas of Sana's Kadambari and 

Krishna Misra's Prabhodhachen- 

Sources of the drodayam into a framework like 

plot:- d) Bana's the story of Udayana, King of 

Kadambari, (*) Kausambi and endeavoured to 

Krishna Misra's harmonise them into a connected 

Prabhodhachen- s tory- complex. The 'Kadarabari' 

drodayam ( 3 ) may have &U gg es ted to him the 

Peddanna's remarkable idea of spreading 

Manucharitram, the action Q tfae gtory beyond a 

(4) Surana's gingle lifetime of the hero and 


the heroes, Ohandrapida and Pundarika/had to 
pass through two or three births before they* could 
realise their desires. In the 'Kalapurnodayam,' 

-The Sources 79 

Kalabhashini and Manik mdhara had similarly to 
pass into a second life before their mutual aspira- 
tions could bear fruit. The "Prabhodhachandroda- 
yam" may have taught him the idea of a philoso- 
phical allegory in which certain abstract characters 
play the drama of life and arrive at the ultimate 
triumph of True knowledge Mahamoha, the king 
of Evil, contends with King Viveka, the Cing of 
Good, for the un lispute! sovereignty of the world 
and calls forth his legions of Kama, Krodha, 
Ahankara, Lobha, Dambha, and other infernal 
spirits to wage war against the eneny. Viveka 
warns his followers and prepares them for battle. 
Vishnubhakthi renders him valuable assistance 
and finally the birth of Prabhodha, the invincible 
son of Purusha and Upanishad, brings certain 
victory; to his cause and Mahamoha and his follo- 
wers vanish away in despair. Similarly in Kala- 
purnodayam there seams to be a subtly-woven 
allegory in which certain abstract characters, 
representing spiritual principles, play the drama of 
life and the whole story shadows tho stnggle 
between Good and Evil. Kalapurna represents 
the principle of Good, Ma lasaya, that of Evil, and 
so on. The plan of the story is therefor like that 
of the 'Kadarnbari' and the spirit like that of 
Prabhodhachendrodayam. The romance of the 
one an4 the philosophy of the other have been 
exquisitely blended; so th it we have in this the 
unique example of an allegorical romance in verse. 
The Kidambari is a romantic story aiJ little more 

80 PIngali Suranarya 

and the Prabhodhaohendrodayam is a philosophical 
allegory and little more. But the Kalapurnodayam, 
which seems to combine both these in one, is by so 
much superior to either. 

It seems to me that, in addition to these 
two Sanskrit works serving as models, the poet 
drew some material from another well-known 
Sanscrit source, namely, So.nadeva's ' Kathasarit- 
sagar' in which is to be found the roraantico- 
historical legend of Udayana or Vatsaraja,King of 
Kausambi. Tha Idylls of Udayana, like the idylls 
of Charlemagne in Earopo, have ever been a 
fertile field of romantic inspiration to Sanscrit 
poets and Vasavadatta, tho beautiful queen of 
Udayana, was likewise the ideal of beauty, love 
and romance. So Udayana, the romantic hero of 
the dhiralalita type in Hindu Literature, was not 
an inappropriate ensemble for Kalapurna aud 
when the two stories of Udayana and Kalapurna 
are compared with each other, the similarity be- 
comes much more striking. 

Udayana, King of Kausainbi, married as 
his first wife, Vasavadatta, daughter of Chanda- 
mahasena, King of Ujjain. But the King of Magadha, 
named Pradyota, was too powerful a rival for 
Udayana ; and so Udayana's minister, the famous 
Yougandharayana, planned to bring about an 
alliance between the two royal families of Kau- 
sambi and Magadha. Padmavathi, the only dau- 
ghter of the Magadha king, was won over, through 

Kalapurnodayara The Sources 81 

the disguised Vasavadatta, to love Udayana. 
Thereupon Udayana invaded against the King of 
Magadha and defeated him. As a condition of 
peace, he married Padmavathi, and a close alliance 
was thus formed between the two kings. There- 
after the digvijayam - world-conquest - was 
carried out. In the "Kalapurnodayam" similarly, 
Kalapurna first married princess Abhinava 
Kaumudi. Madasaya, a Haihaya King, and a 
keen rival of Kalapurna, had an only daughter 
Madhuralalasa, who was destined to be the spouse 
of Kalapurna. Kalapurna defeated him in a 
battle and as a condition of peace, married Madhu- 
ralalasa. Thereafter he performed the digvijayam, 
or, world-conquest. 

1 bus, it will be seen that there is a fairly 
close parallel between the two stories of Udayana 
and Kalapurna, When it is also known that this 
story of Udayana was,about the time of Suranarya 
or a little prior,turned into an Andhra Prabandham 
by a certain Narana Suranna and that this Andhra 
Prabandham was named Udayanodayatn, a name 
so much alike to Kalapurnodayara, Suranarja's 
indebtedness becomes much more evident. 

There is also indubitable evidence to show 
that Suranarya had before him some Telugu poems 
also to furnish him material for his plot by way of 
comparision and contrast. Of them the most im- 
It seems to me that Suranarya attempted to tra- 

82 Pingali Suranarya 

prove upon this poem in his own work by * adapt- 
ing some of its features while eliminating the 

(i) In both f the heroines were courte- 
zans, one heavenly and' the other earthly. Both 
the heroines wedded their lords under a misconcep- 
tion; and whereas Varudhini suffered loss of 
chastity (Pativratyabhangam) Kalabhashini's cha- 
stity was saved by the cleverness of the poet. 

(ii) In both, the heroes were Gandharvas : 
but the Gandharva hero of Kalapurnodaym was 
infinitely superior in character to that of Manu- 

(iii) The story of Abhinavakaumudi being 
pursued by Salyasura bears a strong family rgsem- 
blance to that of Manorama, pursued by Indiva- 
raksha in the form of a Rakshasa. 

Some minor similarities also can be shown 
between these two poems which were produced in 
such close proximity of time and place 

The scene at the end of the poem between Kala- 
purna and his two wives is very similar BO the 
famous scene between Srikrishna and his two 
queens in the first canto. 

Amuktamalyada, the heroine, longed for marrying 

Kalapurnodayam-a three-fold allegory 81 

the God Sriranginatha even from her birth. SQ 
also Madhuralalasa, the heroina in this poarn, was 
shown by the poet, to have dedicated herself from 
her babyhood as the wife of of King Kalapurna. 
(Vide 0. VI. Verse 195J 

Thus, though this poem Kalapurnodayam 
is quite original and new, yet it bears a great 
deal of evidence to show that the author had in 
his mind many great poems, Sanskrit and Telugu, 
from which he borrowed matter and manner and 
utilised the material thus got in his own peculiar 


The poem:-a three-fold allegory. 

This poem, to my mind, stands unique in 

the whole field of Andhra literature and perhaps 

in the wider field of Indian litera- 

The story a ture. Even as a love poem, it 

threefold seems to be a rare production. The 

allegory. poet did not merely imitate here 

the Prabandhams of former Telugu 

and Sanskrit poets and describe the hackneyed 

loves of princes and princesses on the principle 


"Love in a hut, with water and a crust 
Is - Love, forgive us - cinders, ashes, dust" 

but wandered away from the beaten track 
a path for himself and discover for 

64 Pingall Suranarya 

unknown regions of romance. The heroine is 
neither an offspring of royal blood, nor, in the 
first instance, of divine blood; but an ordinary 
courtezan, cultured and clever, with all the foibles 
of her class and sex and the hero is a young Gan- 
dharva devotee, simple, unobtrusive and religious. 
With these two mutually conflicting characters, 
figuring as the chief dramatispersonae, a very 
interesting and complicated story was woven in 
which a great variety of characters were gradually 
introduced to unfold the significance of the whole. 
Thus, even as a romantic love story, it is an 
uncommon performance and the poet may lay 
claim to some originality or rather daring which 
is very frequently a characteristic of genius. But 
this is, after all, neither the only merit nor even 
the chief merit of the poem. What distinguishes 
it from the rest of its kind and elevates it into the 
the region of the sublime is the deep allegorical 
significance of the story. The story is not merely 
a single allegory like the Prabodhachendrodayam 
nor even a double allegory like Spenser's Fairie 
Queen, but it is, what would be simply marvellous 
in the literature of any country, a triple allegory. 
It can bear a threefold interpretation, philosophi- 
cal, historical and erotic. This supreme literary 
feat would be absolutely incredible were it not 
that we have here its actual achievement. Words 
would fail to describe adequately that bold tdwer- 
ing genius which could bring, within the range of 
ffort, suoh a stupendous task, and in the accompli- 

Kalapurnodayam Explained In detail 85 

shtnent pf it, attain such a large measure of 
success. Truly says the poet : 

"All the means of action 
The shapeless masses - the materials 
Lie everywhere about us. What we need 
Is the celestial fire to change the flint 
Into the transparent crystal, bright and clear, 
That fire is Genius/' 



The three allegories - explained in detail. 

Imagination need not be stretched to any 
great length in ray opinion to follow up what may 
be called the metaphysical or philosophical allegory 

in the poem. The very names 

The metaphysical of the dramatis personae and the 

allegory development of the story suggest 

in my opinion the existence of 
such an allegory. Angadesa is the human body. 
('Anga' means (i) the country named Anga, (ii) 
the body). In this Angadesa, the town of Kasara- 
puram (the lake-city) is the metropolis. Kasara- 
puram stands for the heart which is the lake or 
source of supply for the whole body (Hrudaya- 
kasaram). In the town of Kasarapurarn, King 
Sat wad at ma was, after a period of anarchy the 
first puling sovereign. That is to say, in the human 
heart, Intelligence or Buddhi, after a period of 
comparative ignorance, first reveals itself 

86 Pingali Suranarya 

assumes control of the human body. King^Satwa- 
datma, conscious of the superior virtues of Kala- 
purna, abdicated the throne in his favour and 
became his prime minister. In other words, In- 
telligence gradually gives place to the superior 
power of the soul (Jivatma). Kalapurna is thus 
the human soul (Jivatma or Purusha). It is said 
in the Prasnopanishad that 

(i) *'O Bharadwaja 1 Know that Purusha 
has sixteen 'Kalas.' (Prasnopanishad.) 

(ii) Within this very body there exists 
'Purusha' of the lunar essence and in him rise the 
sixteen 'Kalas' " (Prasnopanishad) 

So the human soul or (Jivatma) has sixteen 
principles (Kala) just as the moon has sixteen 
rays (Kala). The word Kalapurna, therefore, 
stands in the doublo sense of " the soul ' or 
" the moon." 

This Kalapurna was the offspring of a 
Brahmana couple Manisthambha and Sumukha- 
eatti. Manisthambha and Sumukhasatti are the 
Iswara and Maya and Kalapurna or the human 
soul is the manifestation of their union. 
Manisthambha, the husband, assumed at the 
time of the union the form of the wife and 


(ii) $ 

Kalapurnodayam Explained in detail 87 

Sumukhasatti, the wife, that of the husband. This 
only -signifies that Iswara, the Lord of the Universe, 
pleases himself by coming under the influence of 
Maya or Prakriti and yet retaining his own indi- 
viduality. Sumukhasatti was the daughter of 
Swabhava or in other words, Maya or Prakriti is 
self- born. Swabhava, gave Kalapurna a bow and 
arrows. The bow is the mind and the arrows are 
the senses and by means of the mind and the five 
senses, Kalapurna or the Jivatma could bring into 
his possession, Madasaya or the material universe, 
and Rupanubhuti its capacity to please. Madasaya, 
the material Universe and Rupanubhuti, its enjoy- 
ment, were the parents of Madhuralalasa or the 
desire for pleasure and King Kalapurna's marriage 
of Madhuralalasa means that the Jivatma enjoys 
the pleasures of the Senses. Before this marriage. 
King Kalapurna wedded the princess, Abhinava- 
kaumudi, an Apsarasa of the moon. Abhinava- 
kaumudi means moonlight or Chitsakti and just as 
moonlight is inseparable from the Moon, so also 
this Chitsakti is inseparable from Jivatma. This 
double meaning was brought about by the Slesha 
m the word Kalapurna meaning the Moon or the 
soul. Abhinavakaumudi means fresh moonlight 
and is an inseparable power of the moon. So also, 
Abhinavakaumudi as Chitsakti is an inseparable 
power* of Jivatma. King Kalapurna begot on 
Abhinavakaumudi a son named Suprasada and on 
Madhuralalasa a son named Sarasa. In other 
words the human soul by Chitsakti acquires Pra- 

88 Pingati Suranarya 

sannatwam (banignity) and by the desire for 
pleasure attains Rasikatwam (artistic culture). 
King Kalapurna waged war against King Mada- 
saya and in the end, married the latter's daughter 
Madhuralalasa. On the other hand, he rescued 
the princess Abhinavakaumudi from the fury of 
Salyasura and wedded her. This shows that the 
human soul while fighting against the lower plea- 
sures of the senses (Madasaya and Rupanubliuti) 
keeps itself free to enjoy the higher pleasures of 
the world (Madhuralalasa) anl at the same time 
overcomes obstacles to live in the pure enjoyment 
of the Divine glory (Abhinavakaumudi). 

Thus it is, that the eternal struggle bet- 
ween the principles of Good and Evil, call them by 
whatever name we please, Christ and Satan, Faust 
and Mephistopheles, Viveka and Mahamoha, Una 
and Duessa, has been here adumbrated by this 
great poet with an elusive subtlety characteristic 
of his stupendous genius. 

The story is, therefore, not merely of an 
ephemeral or sensational interest as at first sight 
it appears to be but is of a deep and abiding cha- 
racter, inscrutable as life itself and is a perennial 
source of elevated enjoyment. It 
The poem : its is a freak of genius that, under the 
deep and abid- cover of passion and pleasure, the 
ing interest. eternal drama of life, culminating 
in the triumph of 

Ralapurnodayam Explained in detail 89 

has been ingeniously delineated with the profound 
touch of a great artist and thinker. The exciting 
adventures of the story may capture the wild 
fancy of boyhood ; its beautiful love episodes 
may enthral the imagination of youth ; and its 
undercurrent of metaphysical allegory may enter- 
tain the wisdom of age. 

Why did the poet spread the action of the 
poem beyond a single life time ? Is there any spe- 
cial significance in depicting the characters of 
Ealabhashini and Manikandhara, 
Double life- in their next birth also ? I think 
time Reasons. there is. Manikandhara, austere 

and religious as he is, had no 
strong will to resist the blandishments of Rarabha 
and rather preferred to lose his Tapas (penance) 
than forego the amours of the heavenly courtezan. 
But he subsequently expiated his weakness by his 
long devotional pilgrimage and his ready self- 
sacrifice for Abhinavakaumudi, and, as a fruit of 
his good deeds, became in his next birth King 
Kalapurna. Similarly, Kalabhashini, though cul- 
tured and pious, exhibited the weakness of her 
birth and breeding in her inconstant moods and 
unchaste desires but by her subsequent devotion 
and courage with which she courted death at the 
hands pf Manikandhara, she pleased the goddess 
Mrugendravahana, and became in h r next birth 
Queen Madhuralalasa, a fit spouse for the good 
Sing Kalapurna. As the Gita says: 


90 Pingali Suranarya 

1. "Whatever desire a man clings to in hfe mind 
at the time of his liberation from the body 
(death), he resumes the same in his next birth 
as his mind is fully imbued with that desire/' 


These rebirths, therefore, seem to have been desi- 
gned by the poet to illustrate the law of Karma 
and Re-incarnation and evidently suggest the 

"That men may rise on stepping stones 
Of their dead selves to higher things.'* 


The historical allegory is the most difficult 

to trace. The material for the 

The Historical allegory is to be found in the 

allegory. shape of some scattered hints 

and suggestions of a somewhat 

cryptic character. The dramatis personae are 

sometimes spoken ot in terms of history. Their 

family pedigrees and relationships are sometimes 

significantly given. The localities seem to have 

been hinted in a veiled form. Thus, apart from 

an apriori consideration that the courtier poet, 

Suranarya, would not let slip an opportunity of 

pleasing his patron by ideabsirg, in the person of 

Kalapurna, some great hero connected with the 

1. dtfeo dfibo snfc &,&" srao 3 50650 "3 
T c o 

Kalapuraodayam Explained 10 detail 91 

historic house of his patron, a careful arrangement 
of these stray facts induces a reasonable suspicion 
that the King Kalapurna is a mythical apotheosis 
of some great historical personage. Who this 
personage is cannot at present be exactly stated, 
first, because of the scanty material in the story, 
and, secondly, because of the meagre knowledge 
we still possess of the history of the royal dyna- 
sties of South India and I have only striven here- 
under to give the most approximate interpretation 
of the allegory which, 1 think, certainly exists in 
the poem. 

Let us first glean the scattered bits of 
history and then proceed to the formation of a 
working hypothesis. 

Kalapurna, the King of Kasarapuram, had 
two wives : the first wife, Abhinavakaumudi, was 
shown as * "a maiden belonging to the Lunar 
family of Apsarasas/' This may be interpreted 
to mean that she was a princess of the Lunar 
dynasty , She was represented to have been pursued 
by a Bakshasa in the form of a boar (Salyasuray 
who was the maternal uncle's son of Mahishasura 
and from this hideous monster she was rescued by 
Kalapurna. This may mean that this princess of 
the Lunar dynasty was first wooed by a prince 
bearing the insignia of a boar and related to the 
HouSe of Mysore and that Kalapurna rescued her 

93 Ptagali Suranarya 

from a hateful match by marrying her himself. 
His second wife Madhuralalasa was the only child 
of Madasaya, a king of the Haihaya line, and 
descended from Kartaviryarjuna, whose capital was 
Dharmapuri near the Qodavary river. Madasaya 
invaded the kingdom of Kalapurna but having 
been defeated by him, became his feudatory and 
gave his daughter in marriage to him . Madhura- 
lalasa's mother was the sister of Satwadatma the 
predecessor of Kalapurna on the throne of Kasara- 
puram. Satwadatma, it was shown, was a fugitive 
Maharatta prince, invited by the people of Kasara- 
putam to be their king when their country was in 
a state of anarchy. He, subsequently, handed over 
the kingdom to Kalapurna and became his prime 
minister. The capital was changed from Kasara- 
puram to Kramukakantottharapuram. Kalapurna, 
who was originally not a Kshatriya, became by his 
great prowess, the founder of a Kshatriya dynasty. 
He had two sons, Suprasada and Sarasa, by his 
two wives. The above facts, divested of their 
legendary character, may be interpreted as follows: 

The kingdom of Kasarapuram was at a 
certain time in a state of anarchy. A fugitive 
Maharatta prince took possession of it and ruled 
it with the consent of the people. Subsequently a 
great warrior named Kalapurna came on the scene 
and dethroned the Maharatta who afterwards be- 
came his minister. Sometime after, a king of the 
Haihaya dynasty and kinsman of the deposed 

Kalapurnodayam-Explained in detail 93 

Maharafta prince invaded the kingdom of the* 
usurper, Kalapurna, with a view to restore the 
claims of his kinsman. Bat he too was utterly 
defeated and had to become a vassal of the 
usurper at his court. Once he made an attempt to 
flee with his wife and daughter but was captured 
and brought back to the court of Kalapurna. In 
view of such disturbances, the monarch felt it 
desirable and even necessary for the greater secu- 
rity of his own position to placate his minister and 
pacify his discontented vassal; and he, accordingly, 
proposed to marry the daughter of his vassal who 
was also the niece of his minister. The proposal 
was accepted and the King Kalapurna cemented 
the union by marrying the princess . Previous to 
this, he married a princess of the Lunar dynasty. 

His two wives bore to him each a son. 

Now, what is this Kasarapuram and who 
may be this great conqueror Kalapurna, who set 
up a dynasty of his own at Kasarapuram ? Let us 
try to solve these questions. 

It may be naturally presumed that this 
courtier poet would not have cared to lavish his 
encomiums upon somebody unconnected with the 
family of his patron, Nandyala Krishnam Raju, 
or with the Imperial house of Vijayanagaram of 
which^it was a feudal dependency; nor, if he had 
done so, would his patron have oared to lavish his 
patronage on the poet ; for, in the literary history 
of the world, mutual adulation has ever been a 

94 Pingali Suranarya 

well-known shibboleth between poetry and patro- 
nage. This reasonable presumption limits the 
field of selection to the Imperial house of Vijaya- 
nagaram and its minor branch at Nandyal. From 
either of these dynasties, the poet would have got 
bis hero. Let us suppose, for the sake of argu- 
ment, that the poet took his hero from the minor 
branch at Nandyal and represented him as the 
great Kalapurna. The supposition is not in itself 
impossible ; but it is highly improbable, to say the 
least; for, Suranarya, with the profound and admi- 
rable commonsense which he exhibited throughout 
his literary history, could not have committed su g- 
a gross exaggeration as to make a petty local 
potentate figure as the prototype of the grand 
human ideal and world-conqueror, Kalapurna. 

Further, in the genealogy of his patron, 
as described by the poet, in his Kalapurnodayam, 
there are none having two wives and a single son 
by each; for, be it remembered, that Kalapurna 
by his two wives begot Suprasada and Sarasa, 
respectively. Thus, by these two eliminations, we 
have practically narrowed the field of choice to the 
Imperial dynasty of Vi jayanagarara. 

This view receives some confirmation 
from another source. It has been seen that the 
great Ealapurna ruled at Kasarapurara. Kasara- 
puram got its name from the lake near it (vide 
Kalapurnodayam, V. 102, canto 5). It may, there- 
fore, stand for Fampapura or Haxnpipur* which 

Kalapuraodayatn Explained in detail 95 

got its name from the celebrated lake Pampaof 
the Ramayana fame. Hampipura is none other 
than Vijayanagaram (c.f, the Ruins of Hampi), 
Thus the King of Kasarapuram may allegorically 
stand for the King of Vijayanagaram. It is thus 
possible that some king of Vijayanagaram may 
have been in the poet's mind when describing the 
allegorical hero Kalapurna. 

Who may ba that king ? Strictly spea- 
king, five dynasties ruled at Vijayanagaram. At 
first a branch of the Bhallana Yadavas with their 
capital at Dwarasamudram ruled at Vijayanaga- 
ram for some time. This may be called the first 
dynasty. The second dynasty began with Bari- 
hara and Bukka Raya and ended with the profli- 
gate Virupaksha Raya II. This Virupaksha Raya 
was overthrown by his minister and commander- 
in-chief, Saluva Narasimha Raya who succeeded 
him on the throne. With Saluva Narasimha Raya 
begins the third Dynasty. Saluva NarasimhaRaya, 
at the time of his oeath, left his two minor sons to 
the care of his minister and cousin, Tuluva Narasa 
Raya. Tuluva Narasa Raya faithfully discharged 
bis trust and stood as regent Ho the minor kings 
one after the other. After their death, the family 
of Narasaraya came into power. Viranarasimha* 
raya, the eldest son, succeeded to the throne and 
he was. followed by the great Krishnadeva Raya. 
During the time of Pingali Suranarya or a little 
after, the Arveti dynasty, begun by Tirumalaraya, 
ruie<J in Vijayanagaram, 

96 Pingali Suranarya 

Now we may leave out of consideration 
the first two dynasties of Vijayanagaram; for they 
came to an end much earlier than the time of 
Suranarya. Of the third, the Saluva dynasty, the 
first King Saluva Narasimha ftaya stands apart 
and alone, for his family became practically 
extinct with his death. His successor, Narasaraya, 
who consolidated his power with much ability and 
wisdom became the illustrious founder of a fairly 
long line of kings in which the great Krishnadeva 
Raya was the brightest ornament. It was under 
this line of kings, that Suranarya mainly lived and 
wrote. Their public and private history must have 
been familiar to him. Their great achievments, in 
field and council, which lifted them to an imperial 
role, and formed a fertile and popular source of in- 
spiration for many an illustrious poet of the day, 
must have been read with no less keen interest by 
the young and rising poet. He needed not to 
explore the myths and legends of our Puranas for 
a hero. The chivalry, the courage, the learning, 
the taste and liberality of the groat Krishnadeva 
Raya "the poet-emperor'* furnished all the mate* 
rial for an ideal hero, like Kalapurna. The poet 
could not have been guilty of much exaggeration 
if he could have made either the invincible con- 
queror, Narasaraya, or his more illustrious son, 
Krishnadevaraya, personate the ideal hero Kala- 

Apart from all imaginary probability, it 
has to be seen whether the cumulative historical 

Kalapurnodayam Explained in detail 97 

evidence we have of Ealapurna in the poem fifes 
in with any one of this line of kings and if so, 
with whom. 

At a certain time Kasarapuram was in a 
state of anarchy. A Maharatta prince became 
king. He, subsequently of his own accord, handed 
over the throne to Kalapurna born of Brahman 
parents and became his minister. Kalapurna 
changed his capital from Kasarapuram to Kramu- 
kakantotharapuram. He married, as his first wife, 
the daughter of a king of the Lunar dynasty con- 
nected with the royal house of Mysore. He married 
as his second wife the daughter of a Haihaya 
king whom he conquered and kept as his vassal 
at his court. By each of these two wives he had a 
son. He was not a Kshatriya by birth but subse - 
quentjy has been considered as such. 

It is a matter of history, that, after the 
death of Viranarasimha Baya, there was an 
interregnum owing to the minority of his sons. 
During this interregnum Saluva Timmarasu, the 
king- maker, actod as the regent. Timmarasu was 
an Andhra by birth. This Timmarasu gave the 
throne to Krishnadeva Raya and beoa.uo his prime 
minister. Krishnadeva Raya built a town called 
Nagalapuram and made it his capital to all intents* 
and purposes. Thus he may be said to have shifted 
his capital from Kasarapuram f Vijayanagaram^ 
to Kramukakantotharapuram (Nagalapuram) for 
just as in the former name the word 'puram* is 


9ft Ptagali Suranarya 

above the word 'kanta', so, in the latter word, 
the word 'puram' is above the word 'gala' and both 
'kanta' and 'gala* mean the same thing. His first 
wife, Tirumala Devi, was the daughter of a Mysore 
vassal, King Kumar Virasyamala Raya. Whether 
her hand was courted by any other king cannot be 
ascertained at present. His second wite Annapu- 
rna Devi was the daughter of the Gajapati king 
of Orissa whom he conquered. Possibly the Gaja- 
pati kings were a branch of the Haibayas. It is 
a wellknown fact that Krishnadeva ttaya defeatad 
the Gajapati king Prataparudra and, while he fled 
away with his family, captured his son and 
daughter and married the latter. Krishnadeva 
Raya had two sons by these two queens (vide 
Ch. Virabhadra Rao's "Life of Krishnadeva 

Krishnadeva Raya was not considered at 
first a Kshatriya, but, by his great conquests and 
reputation, asserted his claim to be a Kshatriya 

It is thus evident that, *n the main, the 
historical evidence of Kalapurna fits in in the 
case of Krishnadevaraya and one is fairly tempted 
to think that Krishnadeva Raya might have been 
taken to represent the hero Kalapur ia. * 

* Though it is quite evident to me that the poet 

intended a historical allegory in the king* Xalapurria, yet 

one cannot be quite sure whether the king Kalapurna 

represents Krishnadeva Raya or his father Narasa Raya. 

Future research alone h is to solve the problem and I hope 

Kalapurnodayam-Explained In detail t W 

. The Erotic allegory was explained by the 
poet himself with exquisite skill and nicety of 
expression, as a love interlude between Brahma 
and Saraswati, (Vide Canto V. Kalapurnodayara.) 

On one occasion when Brahma 

The and Saraswati were dallying on 

Erotic-allegory a lake in their pleasure garden, 

a love quarrel took place between 
the divine couple. During the brief interval of 
separation, Saraswati was lying with her face 
turned away from Brahma and the great lord felt 
very sick at heart. With a view to ease his own 

that some scholars will throw more light on the matter by 
showing the family relationships of the wives of Narasa 
Kaya, the father of Krishnadeva Raya, I could not get 
the information yet, however much I tried. Scholars of 
historical research have not yet been able to show to which 
royal families the first two wives of Narasaraya belonged- 
Tippamba, the mother of Viranarasimharaya-Nagalamba, 
the mother of Krishnadevaraya. 

Compare Malik Muhammad Jayasi's ^Padmavati" 
written about the same time as the "Kalapurnodayam*' in 
Hindi. The poet flourished about 1540 A- D. in the Court 
of the Raja of Amethi in Rajaputana. in the "Padmavati" 
he tells the story of a certain Ratan Sen, who, hearing 
from a parrot of the great beauty of Padmavati or Padmini, 
journeyed to Ceylon as a mendicant and returned to Chittor 
with IJadmini as his bride- Alauddin, the ruling sovereign 
at Delhi, also heard of Padmini and endeavoured to capture 
Chittor in order to gain possession of her. He was un- 

1 00 Pingali Suranarya 

anguish and soothe his angry queen, he began to 
narrate a story to the caged parrot near. In the 
story he managed to weave with exquisite taste 
and delicacy the love episode and indirectly inform 
his queen how greatly he felt the separation and 
how anxiously he desired re-union. The persons 
in tke story were symbolic of his emotions and 
endeavours for re-union. Saras wati was very 
pleased with this delicate courtship of her lord and 
benignly smiled upon him, and herself explained 
the allegory to her lord. Their re-union was like- 
wise interwoven in the story. 

successful but Ratan Sen was taken prisoner and held as a 
hostage for his surrender. He was afterwards released 
from captivity by the bravery of two heroes. He then 
attacked King Dev Pal who had made insulting pr6posals 
to Padmini during his imprisonment. Dev Pal was killed 
but Ratan Sen, who was mortally wounded, returned to 
Chittor, only to die. His two wives, Padmini and another, 
became Sati for him, and while this was happening, Ala* 
uddin appeared at the gates of Chittor, and though it was 
bravely defended, captured it. At the end of the poem 
Malik Mahomed explains it all as being an allegory. 
Chittor is the body of man, Ratan Sen is the Soul, Padmini 
is wisdom. Alauddin is delusion, the parrot is the guru, 
and so on and thus a a religious character is given to the 

F. E. Keay's 

"A History of Hindu Literature.'- 

Kalapurnodayam Explained in detail 101 

.Kasarapuram was the lake in the pleasure 
garden of Brahma. Kalapurna was the reflection, 
on the lake, of the moonlike face of Saraawati as 
she hung down her face away from her lord* 
Manisthambha was the jewelled pavement of the 
lake and the union of Sumukhasatti (her beautiful 
face) with Manisthambha was the cause of Kala- 
purna or the reflected image of the moon. Mada- 
saya and his queen Rupanubhuti were only the 
desires of Brahma for kissing the face of his 
queen (Mat+asaya = my desire). When they inva- 
ded Kalapurna, i. e., when Brahma turned up her 
face for a kiss, her eye-brows and looks (bow and 
arrows) were directed in anger and his courage 
(Dhirabhava) and desire (Madasaya and Rupanu- 
bhuti) fled away. Upon this, the queen smiled 

and turned towards him. Her smile was Abhi- 


navakaumudi. The smile enriched her noble coun- 
tenance, i. e., to say, Abhinavakaumudi married 
Kalapurna. Brahma's desire for kissing the ruby 
lips of his queen was Madhuralalasa, and it was 
the result of his deep appreciation of beauty or, in 
other words, Madhuralalasa was the offspring of 
Madasaya and Rupanubhuti who were allowed to 

return. The four Agamas in the story were the 
four faces of Brahma. And so on. If the poet 
himself had not explained in detail the allegory 
he meant, through the lips of Saraswati to her lord* 
it would have been simply impossible to think 
that such allegory ever existed in it. 

102 Piogali Suranarya 

This charmingly subtle interlude go finely 
inter-twined in the story and its delicate interpre- 
tation are a literary marvel which alone may 
entitle the poet to a very high place in literature. 
His imagination was at once delicate, subtle, and 
ariel-like. Its flight was bold and graceful. It 
revelled in beauty but cunningly concealed itself 
behind art. A Coleridge or a Keats might envy 
the unique success of the poet's performance in 
this singularly fine love-interlude. Truly no poet 
can ever excel Suranarya in the fine gossamer-like 
texture of his poetic visions. It may be said 
of him, in the words of the greaiest of English 
poets, that 

His poetic eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, 
Doth glance from Heaven to Earth, from 

Earth to Heaven, 

And, as imagination bodies forth 
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen 
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing 
A local habitation and a name. 


Suranarya actually gave "a local habitation and 
a name" to mere ideas and sentiments and wove 
a fine and delicate story out of much fanciful and 
visionary stuff . The idyllic love ofBrahm'a and 
Saraswati in Heaven was made to show its true 
reflection on the Earth to our infinite joy and 

Kalapuraodayam its construction 103 

entertainment, and the immortal 3 tor y of Kala- 
purna is the result, as ordained by Brahma in the 
irrevocable words:-"So the story of the great King 
Kalapurna shall become widely famous in the 
world as having originated from my face in rela- 
tion to your love towards me." 


The Construction of the Poem -its merits and 

The opening scene of the poem was conceived 

and depicted by the poet with that singular delicacy 

and detail of which he is seen to be a perfect 

master. Ram b ha and Nalakubara floating down 

in a vimana, pleasantly conversing 

First part. f their unfading loves; Narada 

and Manikandhara coming down 

from the sky rapturously comparing the beauty of 
the fair sex in Heaven and on Earth; the two pairs 
bem? separated by the filmy screen of a cloud ; 
their meeting in the mid-heavens and the witty 
conversation that followed between Rambha, the 
leader of the celestial courtezans and tfarada, the 
leader of the celestial sages; all this is excellent 
and admirable; and when wa turn to the earth, we 

see a noless brilliant scene. 

Kalabhashini with her gay attendants 
sporting in her garden, uev; Dwiraki, gathering 

104 Pingali Suranarya 

flowers and singing sweet songs; the young hero- 
ine is thus introduced to our eyes in a scene of 
gaiety and mirth. Gradually the two scenes have 
been linked naturally and logically and Kalabha- 
shini and Rambha are left as rivals for the love of 

But soon the poet abandons the world of 
idealised nature, and descends into a world of 
extravagant fancy. Narada's study of music in 
the harem of Sri Krishna and his contest with 
Tumburu are silly enough; but there is something 
more silly, in the reason adduced for Narada's gift 
of the power of Kamarupa to Kalabhashini and 
one is lost in wonder whether the author of this 
silly episode can be that immensely sane and 
practical poet, Suranarya. 

At this stage, the Kapalika Siddha, Mani- 
sthambha, riding on his lion, comes on the ' scene 
and creates quite a sensation. His visit to Kala- 
bhashini is ominous and sharpens our curiosity. 
His powers of clairvoyance and clairaudience are 
called into requisition to bring the four characters, 
Rambha, Nalakubara, Kalabhashini and Manikan- 
dhara together in the Nandana garden. An exci- 
ting "Comedy of Errors'* takes place; a comedy 
more complex, more humorous, and more interest- 
ing than any of its kind in the whole range of 
literature. Moreover, this very comedy h^s been 
used fits a prelude to the deeply tragic elements of 
the story* namely, the death of Kalabhashini and 

Kalapurnodayam its construction 105 

^ ' ^ 

Altogether this part of the story, save that 
revolting incident, viz., the death of Kalabhashini 
at the hands of her husband, Manikandh ara, is not 
unnatural, especially, to the Hindus who believe 
even now in the supernatural powers of the Yogis 
and who, at one period of their religious history, 
witnessed, with good faith, the horrible mystic 
rites of the Kapalikas and other Tantrikas. It is* 
therefore, not opposed to nature or reason that a 
Hindu Brahman poet of the 16th century should 
have woven into a romantic story, the tantric rites 
and the transcendental powers of the Siddhas. 
The Siddhas were believed to possess superior 
powers of vision, audience and locomotion and 
exercised as great a spell on the imagination of 
the people of this country as the witches in Europe 
during the three centuries preceding the last ; and 
just as no great writer in Europe of that period 
could dispense with the help of the witches for the 
production of the marvellous and the supernatural 
elements in his stories, e. g. Shakespeare in 
"Macbeth" and Goethe in "Faust", so also no 
great writer in India could dispense with the help 
of the Siddhas for giving a miraculous character to 
his stories. 

But it may be said, without being unchari- 
table to the poet, that he could have easily made 
a story less horrible and distressing without im- 
pairing its sensational character. But, as it is, the 
story ends in a revolting tragedy. 


106 Pingal! Suranarya 

Looking back on the first part of the poem 
as a whole, it appears to me that the story has been 
constructed with remarkable skill and without ex- 
travagant disregard of propriety 
A long interval and naturalness. There does not 
between the seem to be any allegory, philoso- 
First and Second phical, historical, or erotic, such as 
parts : the we see in the second part of the 
Second part poem. The absence of allegory 
allegorical and and the want of consistency bet- 
involved, ween the two parts make it presu- 
mable that there must have been 
a somewhat long interval between the completion 
of the first part and the commencement of the 
second part. During this interval the poet must 
have been absorbed in his favourite study 
and practice of the Yoga. The Sankhya of Kapila 
seems to have exercised a great influence upon 
him. The Vedanta of Vyasa was already olaira- 
ing him as his pupil. (It is a very significant fact 
that, in the second part of the poem, Canto V, the 
poet has given, apparently to satisfy his own urge 
from within and with no other particular motive or 
necessity, a minute description of the practice of 
the Yoga and of the immense advantages accruing 
from it.) His religious btucios were going hand 
in hand with his studies in spiritualism. His 
mind was in consequence undergoing .a deep 
change. His contemplative nature received a 
fresh impetus from these spiritualistic studies. No 
more he delighted, for its own sake, in the delinea- 

Kalapurnodayam its construction 1O7 

tion of .physical love and beauty. No more could 
Rambha and Kalabhashini cast their amorous 
spell upon his imagination. His eye was looking 
beyond the sensuous into the supersensnous. It is 
not beautiful men and women that fascinated him 
at the time, but those eternal ideas and values that 
underlie this tangible world and form the true 
essence of the things seen. The struggle is no 
more between Rambha and Kalabhashini for the 
gay youth, Nalakubara, but it is between the 
eternal principles of Vidya and Avidya, in their 
relation to the human soul, jivatma, 

This widened spiritual outlook induced a 
corresponding change in his religious faith. What- 
ever might be the exact religious creed in which 
he was brought up by his father, 
The tfoet's reli- w e have seen, that, at the time 
gious change and of his Raghavapandaviyain, he 
its reasons, was an ardent Saivite ; so muck 
so that he preferred to dedicate 
his work to the God Virupaksheswara instead of 
bis patron Peda Venkatapathi Raya, also a Saivite. 
Even here the dedicatory verse (Canto I. V, I) 
makes very little distinction between Saivisim and 
VaiBhnavism and blends the one with the other. But 
at the time of his Kalapurnodayam, his leanings 
were towards Vaishnavism. It may be of some 
interest to know what it is that brought about this 
change. An able critic recently said that this 
change was probably due to his poverty which 

08 Pingali Suranarya 

obliged him to adopt the Vaishnava faith 'of his 
patron, so that he might win his goodwill, the 
more. But this view is, I think, wrong for two 

(i) It is a matter of common knowledge 
that even at the present time, when the two >cults 
of Saivism and Vaishnavism are as widely apart 
as possible, there are hundreds and thousands of 
Niyogi Brahmans who, though they may have 
been brought up in the ^aiva form of worship, 
have adopted during their life-time the Vaishnava 
faith as a personal choice. What is so common 
now-a-days must have been more common in the 
days of Suranarya when there was less rigidity and 
exclusiveness in the mutual relations of these two 
rival creeds. 

(ii) It is a mistake to suppose that Sura- 
narya was either so worldly-minded or so obse- 
quious a courtier as to endeavour to please his 
patron *'by doctrines fashioned to the varying 
hour". We have seen in the dedicatory preface of 
his Raghavapandaviyam in what terms of equality 
and independence he was addressed by his patron, 
Peda Yenkatapatiraya. 

1. "Though 1 have clearly noticed so much ability 
in you, yet, as you have no great desire for 

Kalapurnodayam-its construction 109 

remuneration (money) I hesitate to suggest to 
you anything. But, Oh devotee of Siva ! do 
you not like to compose Raghavapandaviyam 
in dedication to God Sri Virupaksha for His 

His dedication of Prabhavatipradyumnara 
to his father rather than to any princely patron 
shows that he had little regard for, or was in little 
need of, royal favours. There are no convincing 
reasons to suppose that a poet who exhibited such 
remarkable independence and freedom from 
worldliness in his youth and old age could have 
become so needy or greedy in his manhood as to 
change his religion simply with a view to please 
his patron. On the contrary the weight of evi- 
dence seems to be in favour of the view that his 
attraction to the Vaishnava faith was one phase 
of the growing spirituality of his mind. 

(iii) The invocatory verses in the begin- 
ning of the poem (Kalapurnodayam) relating to 
Vishnu and Siva are so worded that tha poet 
Suranarya, like his great antetype Tikkana, (with 
whom he had so much in common in religion, 
family life, personal culture, and character and 
so forth) had in his mind the universal spirit or 
Brahman of which Vishnu and Siva are the two 
kinds, of manifestations. So neither Suranarya 
was a Vaisbnavite at any time nor did he give 
up Saivism ; but he was only gradually transcend- 

1 10 Pingali Suranarya 

ing these credal limitations to dwell .in the 
supreme Infinite, of which these two are eternal 

With such an equipment, spiritual and 
religious, the poet set himself to the task of 
continuing the poem he left half way. At the 
time the poem was begun, his idea was simple 

and not altogether different from 

The Second part : that of former writers. He wanted 

continued. to invent a new romantic story 

and work it out in a novel way by 
creating certain exciting situations and describing 
marvellous adventures. The first part of the poem 
was planned upon this idea. The plot is not com- 
plex and there is no allegory in ic of any kind 
except a spiritual aspiration on the part of Kala- 
bhashini for Kalapurna the ideal human soul. 
But during the period preceding the commencement 
of the second part, he grew more ambitious. He 
came under the influence of spiritualism and 
intended to combine sensuousness with spiritu- 

The King Kalapurna, was not to be simply 

f the type of Swarochisha Manu or Uparichara 

Vasu but he must be something more. He must 

symbolise some eternal philosophic ideal like King 

Viveka of the Prabodbachendrodayam . There 

must indeed be in him the regal splendour, the 

awe and majesty of the world's crowned heads but 

he must not be simply of that race of men who 

had come and gone ; men who achieved great glory 

n -It* cdistruztioi HI 

but who ware still men. The King Kalapurna 
must be all this and more. He must be co-eternal 
with human life-an everlasting embodiment of the 
human ideal. The world he conquered should be 
as much the outer, as the inner one. In one sense 
he should be the sovereign of the world we see- 
matter - and in another sense he should be the 
sovereign of the world we do not see - the spirit. 

Thus the poet's object became twofold. 
The history of King Kalapurna should be not only 
like the history of a great king of the world but 
should also be the history of the human soul. Add 
to this the further idea that this imaginary King 
Kalapurna should not altogether be a creature of 
imagination but should represent some particular 
sovereign of the country in which the poet lived 
and wrote. Thus the poet's object became three- 
fold. With this three-fold object I think, he set 
about constructing the story in the second part of 
the poem. Naturally the plot became complex and 
involved and, as we proceed through its winding 
labyrinth, "cycles in epicycles anl orbs in orbs 
arise" and quite overpower us with amazement. 

Again, the poet's love of sensationalism, 
wiich is strongly evident in the first part became 
almost a passion in the second part. In the first 
part the incidents and situations, 
Lov of Sensa-! coloured as they are with ro- 
in the mance, were neither extrava- 
two parts. gantly unreal nor absurdly 
fantastic but in the second part, 

112 Plngall Suranarya 

nature and reason were cast to the winds and a 
most delirious fancy conjured up visions,ranging as 
it listed, in the limitless regions of time and space. 
Nothing was deemed impossible or irrational. 
Absurd predicaments were invented and more 
absurd escapades imagined. The men and women 
that took part in these adventures are not of the 
world we live in but they moved and acted in an 
incredibly strange way as if they belonged to a 
world we cannot conceive of. The poet's fancy 
played such "fantastic tricks'* in order to shape a 
consistent story out of heterogenous and conflict- 
ing elements. 

The second part opens with the rebirth of 
the heroine as Madhuralaiasa in a purer and higher 
stage of being as the daughter of the royal couple, 
Madasaya and Rupanubhuti. The hero Manika- 
ndhara was also born as Kalapurna, the son of the 
Brahman couple Manistambha and Sumukhasatti 
and eventually succeeded to the throne of Kasara- 
purara. It is in the court of Kalapurna that we 
first meet the babe, Madhuralaiasa "not two 
months old*' but Oh ! what marvellous powers she 
has acquired 1 With the aid of a talismanic neck- 
lace she relates the past, the present, and the future 
of herself and king Kalapurna, of Manisthambha, 
and Sumukhasatti, of a certain religious devotee, 
Alaghuvrata, and of her own parents iVladasaya 
and Rupanubhuti. The sweetly idyllic life, behind 
the curtains, of Brahma and Saraswati our divine 

Kalapumodayam its construction 113 

parents, whose love interlude formed the germ 
from which this whole story grew, has been revea- 
led to us with a singularly charming delicacy and 
sentiment and we cannot be too grateful to the 
r oyal babe for this elegant picture of love, grace 
and beauty, a picture that floats before our mind's 
eye "like a magic web with colours gay*'. 

1. '-In fact the knowledge of all things lies in the 
words that name them and the words have 
their origin in you; therefore, how can any- 
thing exist in this world which is not in tune 
with your thoughts ? So the story of the 
great King Kalapurna, shall become widely 
famous in this world as having originated 
from my face in relation to your love towards 

me. 41 ' 

(Kalapurnodayam, C. V. Verse 63.) 

So said Brahma to his queen and breathed eternal 
life into this story of Kalapurna. 

1. ft. 


114 Pingali Suranarya 

A mystery thus springs up within a mys- 
tery and the whole becomes a standing puzzle, We 
realise that human life on this earth, with all its 
variety and air of reality, is only a reflection, a 
phantasmagoria, of the life of gods in Heaven and 
that each character on the stage of the Earth has 
its prototype, aye, with 'the same name in the 
drama of Heavenly life. 

Scarcely have we recovered fully from 
this pleasing and ineffable sensation, when we are 
plunged into the depths of horror. A. beautiful 
damsel, Abhinavakaumudi is being ruthlessly 
pursued by an ugly monster, Salyasura, and she 
is rending the skies with her cries for help and 
running to meet Manikandhara, who is on the 
point of immolating himself by falling down from 
a precipice at Srisaila. Manikandhara runs to her 
rescue ; a sharp struggle ensues between him and 
the Rakshasa in which each kills the other. 

Nor is this the last sensation we are favou- 
red with. The story of the four Agamas beats 
the record by its absolute extravagance and down- 
right disregard of what is natural or rational. 
Imagination runs riot. The poet's craze for excite- 
ment quite takes our breath away. What a fanci- 
ful conglomeration of incidents ! What a delirious 
invention of situations 1 What an ingenious state- 
ment of reasons ! We get be^ ildered , tired , 
exhausted and with what relief we welcome at 
this stage the change into the ordinary, unpreten- 

Kalapurnodayam its construction US 

tious development of the story in the usual Pra- 
bandha manner - the childhood - the youth - the 
love - the dejection or 'Viraham' of Madhuralalasa 
- the marriage - the digvijayam of Kalapurna - 
and the long,happy life of the king and the queens. 

Viewed absolutely from the standpoint of 
a natural and rational construction of a story, the 
development of the plot and the episodes in the 
second part of the poem must be pronounced to be 

not a very convincing performance 
Final estimate. but it must be remembered that 

the author was labouring through- 
out under the handicap of a triple allegory which 
prevented his really extraordinary powers of story* 
telling from having their full and unobstructed 
play. But, taking all the circumstances into con- 
sideration, it should indeed be a matter of great 
surprise that a story with so few faults could be 
evolved, complete in detail, interesting in incident, 
and faithful to its purpose. 

Mr. C. Ramalinga Reddi, M. A., speaking 
of "Kalapurnodayam'* in his "Kavitwatatwavicha- 
ram ff , says: 

" Kalapurnodayam is unique 

Mr. C, R, Reddi's in Telugu literature. It does not 

opinion. belong to any particular class of 

work. It by itself represents its 
own class.'' 

I quite agree with this estimate of th* 
poem and add that it appears to me to be 

116 Pintail Suranarya 

not only inTelugu literature but also in the litera- 
tures of the world. 

A few oversights are here and there notice- 
able which escaped even the minute scrutiny of 

(1) Kalabhashini, after her death 
Oversights and instantaneous resurrection, at 
the temple of Mrugendravahana, 
was shown by the poet to have gone to Dwaraka 
in her own person and been living in her home 
and among her attendants. But the next time we 
meet her after an interval of two years, we find 
her a babe, "not two months old"' Madhuralalasa 
by name, the daughter of the King Madasaya and 
Queen Rupanubhuti. We are, however, not taken 
into the poet's confidence when, how, and why the 
youthful maiden at Dwaraka gave up the ghost 
to be reborn as Madhuralalasa, the princess. 

(2) How could the relationship of Satwa- 
datma and Madhuralalasa be known to the old 
Brahman confidant of Kalapurna, since even Sa- 
twadatma did not know it till Madhuralalasa told 
him and the king at the end of the poem* 

These oversights must have been due to 
t^e fact that there appears to be a fairly long 
interval between the writing of the first pdrt and 
that of the second part of the poem. They ard too 
minute and insignificant to matter much. The 
as a whole has been constructed with wonder- 

Kalapurnodayam-compared 117 

ful care- and skill and the inter-weaving of the 
plot and the sub -plots (not to speak of the other 
striking merits^ can challenge comparison with 
any great poem in the world. 


The poem compared with similar poems -both 

of the East and the West- 
It was seen that the plan of the poem was 
designed on the surface to be an imitation of 
Bana's Kadambari. The poet's indebtedness in 
this respect does not extend much farther than 
the adoption of the idea of spread- 
Bana,s ing the action of the story beyond 

Kadambari a single life-time of the hero and 
the heroine. The marvellous and 
sensational developments are equally evident in 
both. In both the veil of mystery hangs on the 
incidents till it is lifted up later on by the poet 
himself and thus the reader's unflagging attention 
is sustained to the end. 

Only so far lies the similarity. But when 
we go deep into the subject-matter of the poems 
and consider the purpose they respectively seek to 
fulfil, the two poems are felt to be as widely apart 
as any other two in the world. Bana's Kadam- 
bari, involved and interlinked as it is with adven- 
turous episodes, is gently pathetic and naturally 
romantic. The excitement is nowhere violent and 

US Plngali Suranaiya 

shocking. The events move more in the wake of 
Destiny than as the result of the caprice of 
humanity. Neither extravagance of passion nor 
fickleness of desire discolours the gently undulat- 
ing current of the story. 

Nor is the story confused with any alle- 
gorical admixture. No underlying ideas of mystic 
symbolism nor vaguely suggestive reference to 
history tend to distract attention and make "con- 
fusion worse confounded". 

But with Kalapurnodayam, it is other- 
wise. The tragic events are, as we have seen, 
sometimes shocking and the situations, sometimes 
unnatural. The dominating personality of one 
woman, and that a woman of extraordinary energy 
and resource of mind inclined by nature to move 
in subtle and ingenious ways makes the story. 
Kalabhashini bears no comparison with Kadara- 
bari nor Sumukhasatti with Mahasweta Sana's 
heroines are grander and make the nearest 
approach to the ideal of womanhood. Kadambari 
is pure, gentle, and reposeful but Kalabhashini is 
fickle, energetic, and self-assertive. The one is 
full of grace but the other is full of cleverness. 
The one lives in the ideal but the other lives after 
the ideal. Similarly, Mahasweta is as austere and 
chaste as Sumakhasatti but in her austerity there 
is strength which inspires awe in others ; whereas 
Sumukhasatti, with all her tenderness and purity, 

Kalapurnodayam campired 1 ( 9 

is weak almost to imbecility and flexible almost 
to self-effacement. 

Again, the philosophical allegory of Kala- 
purnodayam is neither so clear nor so highly deve- 
loped as in the Prabodhachandro^ayana. This 
great drama of Krishna Misra 

Krishna Misra's represents from start to finish 

The Prabodha- ., -,. , , , ~ , , 

, , , the conflict between Good and 

Evil on the stage of human life. 
The different schools of philosophy and religion f 
which at one time or other, ministered to the meta- 
physical aspirations of our people, step on th 
stage and exhibit their mutual rancour or good- 
will. The whole is as much a drama of the human 
mind as it is a drama of the history of the Hindu 
Philosophy and Religion. But the Kalapurnoda- 
pam is primarily a romance and secondarily an 
allegory. The spiritual struggle is less obvious 
and the warring creeds of philosophy or religion 
get subdued into faint suspicions and symbols. 

The one poem in the west, which, as far 
as I know, stands comparison with Kalapurnoda- 
yam in all its bearings romantic, philosophical, 

* Note: The allegory in Tennyson's "Idylls of King 
Arthur" "Shadowing Sense at War with Soul" is too diffu- 
sed, Moreover it illustrates, not the success of the ideal, 
but its failure* 

120 Pingali Suranarya 

and historical, is the "Fairie 
Spenser's Fairie Queen" of Spenser, more espe- 
Queen. cially its First Book . Each is a 

romantic poem with an under- 
current of philosophical allegory and collateral 
references to contemporary history. 

The adventures of the Red Cross Knight 
and Una are not the simple and chivalrous adven- 
tures of an ordinary knight-errant and his lady 
love, but convey a deep spiritual significance im- 
porting no less than the manly fight of the human 
soul in the cause of Truth against Falsehood and 
despite defeats , falls, and reverses, the Soul's ulti- 
mate triumph and union with Truth. This grand 
moral lesson has been imparted to us not only in 
the shape of a remarkably lucid moral allegory 
but also by way of allusion to the contemporary 
political struggle for supremacy between Elizabeth 
and Mary, Queen of Scots. Elizabeth is Una and 
the unfortunate Mary, the false Duessa. The Red 
Cross Knight represents the manhood of England, 
devotedly championing the cause of the great 
British Queen and repelling the overtures of the 
Scottish Mary. 

Thus it is, in this poem, as in Kala- 
purnodayam, an apparent love story is made to 
allegorise the eternal struggle between Ciood and 
Evil with covert allusions to contemporary history, 
political and religious And what a delightful sur- 
prise it is for us to know that these two subtle and 

Kalapurnodayam compared 121 

idealistic poets lived and wrote, almost contempo- 
raneously in England and India. 

The'-Faust" of Goethe was pitched in a 
grander key. There, the cry of the human heart 
is more intense and resonant. The discontent is 

deeper and the aspirations of the 
Goethe's "Faust" human soul are more profound 

and pathetic. The learned Faust, 
dimly conscious of a glorious ideal, heroically 
struggled for its attainment. The simple Margaret, 
by herself could not bring relief to his soul, but 
she had to stand the trials and tribulations of love 
and pass through the Purgatory of self-sacrifice 
before she could make herself worthy to lead him 
on to the footsteps of the Divine. 

In Kalapurnodayam, the aspiring soul is 
that of the woman. Kalabhashini, in one sensa, 
represents the upward movement of the human 
soul. &ver since she heard of Kalapurna, the ideal 
man, her soul was filled with unrest and all the 
energy of her youth, beauty and culture was, in 
spite of temptations and her aberrations, solely 
directed towards the attainment of that ideal Kala- 
purna. The simple and austere Manikandhara, 
yearning for beauty and wavering like herself, 
could not come up to her expectations. He had to 
be reborn into the purer and sublime magnificence 
of Kalapurna, before she could find in him the 
ponsummation of her desire and it was through 

122 PingaliSuranarya 

him that she was initiated into the blissful divi- 
nity of Vishnu. * 



Kalabhashini is the central character of 
the story. She is present everywhere and supplies 
the chief dynamic force in the story. Evidently 

she has received, consciously or 
Kalabhashini. unconsciously, the best care of the 

poet. Kalapurna, with all his 
magnificence and wisdom is less human and more 
mythical; but Kalabhashini is human to the 
core. Every movement of her lips, every quiver 
of her heart, and every passing shade in her mind 
have beeu revealed to us by a faithful and loving 
poet ; and she stands before us, not as a celestial 
damsel, but as an earthly woman, refined, ardent, 
and glorious, and not without the frailties of her 
sex and birth. 

Originally the pet parrot of Brahma and 
Saraswati, caged in their secret bowar for amuse- 
ment, she, on one occasion, thoughtlessly divulged 

* It seems to me that Goethe's Faust and Suranarya's 
Kalapurnodayam distinctly interpret the relative positions 
of the two sexes both in the Social scale and in their respec 
tire aspiration for and realisation of, Divinity in life*' In 
the West, man reaches God through woman f In fte East 
f omaa reaches 694 through man. 


certain secrets of the divine couple to Bambha 
and, for that fault, was cursed by Sarswati to be 
born a courtezan on the earth. Brahma, however, 
mitigated the severity of the curse by holding out 
the hope, that, in her subsequent birth, she would 
be born a princess and marry King Kalapurna. 

In consequence of the curse of Saraswati, 
she was born at Dwaraka as a courtezan. Well 
trained in all the fine arts to befit her for her pro- 
fession, and withal, young and beautiful, she used 
to attend the court of Sri Krishna and was intro- 
duced by that royal connoisseur into his harem so 
that she might perfect her style of music under 
Jambavati and the other queens. When Mani- 
kandhara song his danddkam only once, she was 
able to repeat the whole of it and was admired by 
Narada for her wonderful power of memory, fler 
shrewdness and wit were revealed to us for the 
first time when she engaged Narada in conversa- 
tion in order to extract from him information 
about the identity of Rambha and Nalakubara. 
Narada detected her passion for Nalakubara, how- 
ever cleverly she tried to conceal it, and resolved 
to pit her against the arrogant Rambha. The 
ingenious, rather smart, Kalabbashini obtained 
from flarada the power of Kamarupa, (the power 
to change oneself into any form as desired) which 

he readily granted for his own ends. 

Shortly after taking leave of Narada, she 
had a strange visitor in her home in the person f 

124 Pfngall Suranarya 

aKapalika Siddha, named Manisthambhtf, who 
stimulated her curiosity by exhibiting his powers 
of clairvoyance and clairaudience. Even the 
oddness of this new acquaintance did not deter her 
from trying to use him as an instrument for the 
furtherance of her own designs ; so great was her 
confidence in her own sweet, beguiling arts. But 
to her great dismay she found at last that she was 
caught in a trap and was about to be sacrificed by 
the tiiddha to the goddess Mrugendravahana. She, 
however, calmly resigned herself to her fate. Her 
m iraoulous deliverance by the goddess from the 
jaws of death did not sober down her nature to any 
extent but only gave a fresh opportunity to devote 
all her energy to the satisfaction of her passionat? 
craving for a union with Nalakubara. When, 
however, it turned out, under the disposition of a 
righteous Providence, that her husband was not 
the gay Nalakubara but the gentle and generous 
Manikandhara, look how sincere was her remorse 
and how pathetic was her self -reproof and how 
truly they reveal the depths of a genuine nature, 
tossed about by the waves of youthful passion. 

1. "Having thrown away the splendid 
and fortune- bringing gem which had fallen in 



Kalapurnodayatn Characterisation 1 25 

my hands, I greatly longed and languished for 
a glass-bead which appeared to possess some- 
what a shade of that lustre ! O what should 
I think of my unwisdom, though in the end 
I got the gem itself ! I grieve for the fact that 
1 never tried for acquiring and enjoying it. I* 
is now improper that I should speak thus; for 
who will believe in the words of a dancing- 
girl but say that they are all mere flattery t 
for it is obvious that I lusted for another. 1 ' 

Providence saved her from a mad pursuit 
and from the immoral step which she was anxious 
to take and which would have ruined her chara- 
cter for ever. Sober reflection on what she had 
been doing filled her with remorse. She grew 
conscious of the great moral turpitude in her con- 
duct. -Her high ideal was far from being realised. 
Even the consoling words of her husband could 
bring no relief to her mind pricked, as it was, by 
a stinging conscience. She was no longer the gay, v 
cocquettish girl, spirited, self-confident, and haun- 
ted with a sense of beauty and a yearning for 
self-gratification. A great moral change took 
place in her. She outgrew the chrysalis st 
passionate youth and emerged into wqjj 

126 Pingali Suranarya 

She became conscious of her duties and responsi- 
bilities as a woman and realised thac a vain, plea* 
sure-seeking life is not the most proper or the best 
fitted for a woman. A life of voluptuous desire 
brought on her the curse of death and might she 
not make amends and turn evil into Good? It was 
in this spirit that she addressed Sumukhasatti 
thus : 

1. "O virtuous house- wife and purified fortune 
of mine I After hearing and thinking about 
the nature of your chastity, I beg you to bless 
me that I may attain that chastity even in my 
next birth, which can be attained by persons 
of any kind of immorality if you simply 
approach them with goodwill/* 

With this change in her spirit her second 
life practically began. In the Purgatory of danger 
and distress, her soul became purified and was 
about to enter a higher stage of being, the stage 
of being which she did long aspire to, and where 
she expected to find her lord Kalapurna. It only 
remained for her to "shuffle off her mortal coil" 
so that she might attain that life the sooner and 
be with her lord Kalapurna. The burden of pre- 
sent life under the hourly fear of death and the 

Kalapuraodayam Characterisation 127 

keen expectancy of happiness in another sphere, 
all combined to embolden her naturally indomi- 
table spirit ; so much so that she sought, rather 
implored for, death at the hands of, first, Mani- 
stambha, and afterwards, Manikandhara. 

2. "Afterwards the young woman looked at 
Manikandhara and said, "Sacrifice me to the 
goddess without any sorrow, hesitation, fear 
or even the least doubt, and display the valour 
of your right hand which is capable of seve- 
ring the necks of hordes of insolent enemies.'* 

Thus ended her first life-passionate, event- 
ful and tragic. The higher impulses of her mind, 
the inward longing for Kalapurna, sometimes 
obscured by the clouds of passion, could not be 
altogether annihilated and when she paid the 
penalty of death, a glorious life awaited her a life 
full of purity, steadfastness, and worshipfulness. 

Her second birth as Madhuralalasa was 
the rich reward of a life of suffering and sacrifice. 
Born and bred up in the lap of royalty as the 
daughter of King Madasaya and Queen Rupariu- 
bhuti, and conscious from childhood of her pre- 
destination as the spouse of Kalapurna, her life 

a. *. 




128 Pingali Suranarya 

was one of sweetness, repose, and faith. .Neither 
had she to withstand temptation, nor had she to 
pass through a struggle ; and when in the fullness 
of time - of course after the usually long and 
uneasy waiting - she was blessed with the hand 
of Kalapurna, her already attenuated, rather bea- 
tified, personality merged in the larger and higher 
life of Kalapurna. 

Manikandhara makes his appearance in 
the poem in the subordinate capacity of a disciple 
of Narada. His fine poetic nature became mani- 
fest when, at the sight of Kalabhashini and her 
companions, he burst into a glow- 
Manikandhara. ing description of the scene in 

verse and earned the applause of 

1. "O Divine Sage! Do you see the dignified 
manner in which the well-stretched feet of 
of those young women, swinging in pleasant 
emulation of one another on the flower-creeper 
swings, move towards the sky and back ! It 
seems as though they provoke and invite the 
celestial damsels to a quarrel. 

Thereupon Narada exclaimed "Well-done 1 
Indeed you are a poet".-" 

1. Sfc. 82X>c 

Kalapurnodayara Characterisation 1 29 

" That he could compose a Dandakatn which 
won from Sri Krishna the magnificent present of 
a necklace of precious stones is high testimony to 
what high degree of perfection the poetic art was 
developed in him. As a Gandharva, he was natu- 
rally a lover of music and his musical talents, 
linked with his poetic powers, were, under the 
advice of his Guru , Narada , placed in the service 
of Vishnu. 

1. " Is not the art of music the best of all arts? and 
if it should be devoted to [God Krishna, how 
much would I praise it." 

(Kalap. C. II. V. 61) 

He accordingly wrote a religious "dialogue 
between Lakshmi and Narayana'' (Lakshmi-Nara- 
yana Samvadam) and during: his longr mlgrimage 
to the important centres of Vaishnava worship he 
sang extempore verses in praise of Vishnu. His 
powers in music and poetry , no less than his 
youthful beauty, must have charmed the cultured 
mind of Kalabhashini and we learn from her own 
lips later that he was her first love and that it was 
owing to her fear of Narada, she could not reveal 
her passion to him. 




130 Pingali Suranarya 

2. (< Only my heart can attest how the unfailing 

charms of your bright and graceful body, your 
extra-ordinary skill in music and your many 
delightful and flawless qualities made me 
passionately fond of you but it is all vain to 
say anything now. 

For fear of Narada's curse I held back my 
love for you and what a sinful moment it was 
that I saw Nalakubara, the son of the God of 
Riches! for, mere exterior beauty which I 
saw in him became my ideal.' ' 

Manikandhara felt likewise drawn towards 
her and ior similar reasons repressed his senti- 

3. " O, lotus-eyed woman I I used to turn back my 

mind from you with firmness without letting 

a. w*. fe 




Kalapurnodayam-Characterlsation 13 1 

anybody know of it anywhere, only because 
of my fear for the curse of the sage ; but my 
thoughts were with you during the time of our 
practising music. However it all resulted 
happily for me by a fluke of great fortune. ff 

The young lovers were, however, not faith- 
ful to each other and did nothing that could tend 
to a union. When Providence brought them to- 
gether, unknown to each other, it was an agreeable 
surprise to both. Manikandhara, being of a more 
gentle and generous type, consoled his sincerely 
repentant wife in soothing words of affection free 
from all anger or jealousy, After this accidental 
union, they became passionately attached to each 

His unlawful passion for Rarabha brought 
on him the curse of death and while he was grie- 
vously contemplating how to put an end to his life, 
he had also to accede to the importunities of his 
newly wedded wife to be her executioner. This 
painful task he carried out most reluctantly. His 
tenderness for life, instead of being viewed as a 
merit, was considered a weakness and a defect 
according to the rigorous code of Durga and he had 
to suffer 'a postponement of his reward till his 
next birth. His chivalrous self-sacrifice on behalf 
of the helpless Abhinavakaumudi was the last link 
in the golden chain of his good deeds which pre- 
pared him for a higher and nobler life to come. 

132 Pfngali Suranarya 

In his next life he was born as Kal^purna , 
succeeded to the throne of Kasarapurara , married 
Abhinavakaumudi and Madhuralalasa and per- 
formed Digvijayam (world-conquest). If his Di- 
gvijayam marked him as a world-conqueror, the 
contentment and prosperity of his people marked 
him as a great ruler. He was to the end an ardent 
devotee of Vishnu. 

Of the other characters, the most deserv- 
ing of notice are Manisthambha and Sumukhasatti. 
This Brahman couple who, like Manikandhara and 

Kalabhashini, passed through a 
Manisthambha. second birth, must have been 

intended by the poet to serve as 

a kind of setting or foil on which to view the lives 

of the hero and the heroine. Manisthambha is a 

perfect contrast to Manikandhara and bumlikha- 

satti to Kalabhashini. 

Manisthambha is an inexplicable blend of 
immoderate passion and rigid piety. By his seve- 
rely ascetic life and devotion he cultivated his 
spiritual powers to an extra-ordinary degree. He 
could see and hear things irrespective of distance. 
He was a Sakteya of the Kapalika order and felt 
no compunction to offer Kalabhashini as a sacri- 
fice for the Sakti Mrugendravahana. By his 
disgusting cruelty and violence, he incurred the 
displeapure of the goddess who cast him out along 
with Kalabhashini and when he found himself 

Kalapurnodayam Characterisation 1 33 

alone wjth her in a bower, he was wicked enough 
to try to outrage her modesty and when her cries 
brought out Manikandhara, disguised as Nalaku- 
bara, for her rescue, the fellow proved a veritable 
coward and took to his heels. In his former life 
as Salina his treatment of his wife, Sugatri, was 
brutal enough, and, on one occasion, in a sudden 
fit of rage he committed suicide in a deep pond 
followed by his ever-faithful wife Sugatri. His 
proposal to his meek wife exhibits more of a 
lustful creature than a man and much less a 
learned Brahman, for, to satisfy his amorous plea- 
sures all the more, he exchanged sex with his wife. 
It is thus evident that his character was from the 
beginning one of passionate excesses. Cruel, vio- 
lent, lustful and cunning, he was also pious and 
devoted to the goddess, Durga. When performing 
penance he could exercise the severest self-control 
and torture himself as brutally as he could do 
others. He was thus an inexplicable blend of 
passion and piety. It might be that he was inten- 
ded by the poet as a caricature of a Sakti wor- 
shipper and indirectly to bring out the contrast 
between ultra-Saivism (Saktism) and ultra- Vai- 
shnavism, as represented by Manisthambha and 
Manikandhara, respectively. 

. In agreeable contrast to her passionate 
husband, Sumukhasatti (Sugatri in her former 
birth) was tender, sweet, and chaste. She was the 
model of womanly chastity and wifely obedience 

184 Pingali Suranarya 

and in thought, word and deed, 
Sumukhasatti, never swerved from the strict 
path of duty to her husband. 
Her ready self-sacrifice for the sake of Kalabha- 
shini was only worthy of so unselfish a soul. Her 
patience and serenity of temper, as Sugatri under 
the rude treatment of her husband, Salina, elicited 
the admiration even of so bumptious and domineer- 
ing a shrew as her mother. Both as Sugatri and 
as Sumukhasatti, she lived only for her husband 
and obliterated herself in his personality. Here is 
the most spotless and consistent character in the 
whole poem. When Kalabhasbini prayed in her 
dying hour, she could wish for no other than the 
sweetness, docility and chastity of Sumukhasatti. 

Before taking leave of this part of the 
subject, we may consider for a moment* the not 
uninteresting question as to why the poet made a 
courtezan the heroine of the 
The heroine poem. The idea is neither new 
a courtezan, Why? nor altogether without precedent 
in literature to have a courtezan 
as the heroine of a poem. Vasantasena, the hero- 
ine of Mruchchakatika, belongs to this class of 
women. In Peddanna's "Manucharitram" the 
heroine Varudhini is a Samanya or Courtezan, as 
she claims kinship with the heavenly cotirtezans, 
Rambha, &c. f and we have already seen that 
Peddanna's example might have actuated Surana- 
rya to make a courtezan the heroine of his poem. 

Kalapurnodayan Characterisation 135 

The Silappadikaram and' the Manimekalai, 
the two epics in Tamil, have for their heroines 
only dancing girls or courtezans. The action of 
Suranarya in this respect is thus not entirely an 
innovation but is supported by precedents in 
Indian literatures though rare. 

His choice, moreover, is not, as it appears 
to be at first sight, the result of a freak of will or 
a determination to produce something strange or 
quite out of the common. Two motives become 
apparent on reflection as having actuated him in 
his choice. Firstly, he intended to produce a Pra- 
bandham which should be full of erotic sentiment. 
For the accomplishment of this particmlar object , 
he could not have made a better selection than 
draw his heroine trom that class of Hindu Society 
which was, from time immemorial, specially mar- 
ked out for the culture of the Fine Arts of music 
and dancing and the voluptuous worship of Eros 
or Manmadha. Moreover, it does not also appear 
from a perusal of Indian history and literature of 
the period and before, that, notwithstanding tha 
kind of profession which this class of women 
pursued,they were either rigorously excluded from 
high or gentle society or branded with much social 
infamy. On the other hand they appear to have 
enjoyed a considerable measure of respect and 
were accorded a recognised place in the scale of 
Hindu society. Mr. V. Kanakasabhai says in his 
"Tamils 1800 years ago" : 

136 Pingali Suranarya 

"In the great cities there were also' courte- 
zans who were educated and accomplished women, 
and were the mistresses of wealthy nobles. The 
courtezans honoured by the special regard of the 
king were allowed to travel in carriages or palan- 
quins, to visit the regal parks, to use betel boxes 
made of gold and fans made of the white tail of 
the yak and to be escorted by guards armed with 
scimitars when going out of their homes/' 

Again he says: 

"The education of an actress commenced 
as early as her fifth year and was continued for 
seven years. The curriculum of her studies, as 
given in ancient poems, would do credit to any 

accomplished lady of the present day 

In short, she learnt everything that was calculated 
to amuse and please, to dazzle and captivate the 
minds of men.*' 

They thus correspond to the hetaera of the 
Greeks or the geisha girls of Japan. It is thus 
only in the fitness of things that, with the avowed 
object in view, Suranarya should have selected a 
courtezan as the heroine of his Sringara Praban- 
dham or Erotic Epic. 

But there seems to be another and deeper 

motive for his action. It was remarked above that, 
in the two great Tamil epics, the Silappadikaram 

and Mauiroekalai, the heroine were 

Kalapurnodayatn Characterisation 137 

the cla&s of courtezans. Madliavi, an actress, is 
the heroine of the former, and her daughter Mani- 
mekalai, the heroine of the latter. What was the 
object of the two poets in making actresses the 
leading characters of their poems ? The answer 
to this question may also be shown to be the 
answer to the question we started with, viz., what 
was the object of Suranarya in making an actress 
the heroine of his poem. 

The beautiful Madhavi and her charming 
daughter, born and bred up as courtezans, forsool 
in the end the pleasures of the world and retired 
into a Buddhist convent to end their days in the 
service of religion and in spiritual meditation. The 
obvious moral of all this is that the joys of a 
religious life, spent in divine meditation and 
untrarrielled by worldly ties, are infinitely better 
than the pleasures of the world which beauty, 
wealth, and rank could give. Who can better 
illustrate this great truth by a striking transition 
from worldly pleasures into tne purer joys of 
religion than a courtezan whose whole life is one 
long round of sensual pleasures ? 

Similarly the courtezan, Kalabhashini, 
hankered at first after a life of sensual enjoyment, 
became 9 disgusted with it through dangers and 
troubles,' longed for the sweet serenity of chaste 
womanhood and aspired to the noble ideal of 
marriage With Kalapurna ( True knowledge). The 
powerfully attractive nature of the ideal has be- 


138 Pingali Suranarya 

come manifest in that the usually frivolous mind 
of a courtezan could be drawn to jit in spite of 
temptations and troubles. Suranarya could thus 
carry out, through Kalabhashini, his original idea 
of linking Erotics (Sringara) and Ethics (Punya) 
in his great poem. 


His poetic art its evolution and importance, 

T is often observed that great poets differ as 
much in their thoughts and general outlook as 
in their art and style. The obvious reason is that 
art and style, being the peculiar channels of poetic 
expression, vary with the varied culture of each 
great poet. Students of English Literature are 
familiar with the numerous instances, which that 
noble literature offers, of original poetic genius 
striking out for itself its own peculiar channel of 
expression. Shakespeare , Milton , Pope , Words- 
worth, Byron, and Shelley are a few in that long 
roll of great names which have become individua- 
lised in literary expression. The same may be 
said, only in a less degree, of the History of 
Andhra Literature. Great poets there were, in 
that literature also, if not so plentifully as one 
would wish, but at least with that striking indivi- 
duality of culture which is generally 
with mpn 

Kalapuraodayam Its art. 139 

The surpassing but unostentatious erudi- 
tion of Nannaya, the mighty and varied culture of 
Tikkana, the exquisitely delicate sensibility of 
Somana, and the broad, majestic sweep of Srinadha 
are as true and indubitable as the sweet universa- 
lity of Shakespeare, the inspiring grandeur of 
Milton, and the fervid idealism of Shelley; and, 
moreover, every one of these great Andhra poets 
had his own unmistakably characteristic style of 
expression, The flowing melody of Nannaya, the 
austere and natural grace of Tikkana, the finished 
portraiture of Somana and the sonorous eloquence 
of Srinadha are as distinct and striking as the 
exquisite workmanship of Keats, the melodious 
phrasing of Shelley, or the titanic massing of 

Amongst such masterminds of Andhra 
literature, Suranarya was one but he " like a lone 
star dwelt apart/' He gradually developed an art 
all bis own, which is at once singular and charm- 
ing. Its inimitable and elusive grace makes him 
44 the Grand Solitary 9 ' of Andhra literature. It 
might be that a host of minor writers tried to 
imitate him and gave up the attempt as hopeless ; 
but we know that a few great poets, like Chama- 
kura Venkatakavi, imitated certain features of his 
art and thereby endowed their own writings with 
a respectable amount of literary flavour. * 

*A certain Rajavolu Subbarama Kavi wrote a Pra- 
bandham in the 17 century Jayavijayabhyudayam, by name 

140 Plngali Suranarya 

v - 

Again, one often hears now-a-days of 
Suranarya being the pioneer in the field of the 
Telugu novel and the Telugu drama. Critics have 
self-complacently asserted, time and again, that 
"Kalapurnodayamm" is the first 
Suranarya neither Telugu novel and "Prabhavati- 
a novelist nor a pradyutnnam'' the first Telugu 
dramatist. drama. It is true that these two 
poems of Suranarya present cer- 
tain essential characteristics which are not to be 
found, at least so markedly, in the other great 
poems of p r evious writers ; and it is also true that 
these two poems, with a few minor alterations, 
may be easily transformed, the one into a novel 
and the other into a drama. Notwithstanding all 
this, it seems to me that the idea of writing a novel 
or a drama was as far from the mind of Suranarya 
as the idea of founding an empire was from the 
mind of Robert Olive when he joyfully threw 
away the pen and buckled on his sword. In other 
words, the author of Kalapurnodayam and 
Prabhavatipradyumnam no less than the founder 

of the British Empire merely followed the 
bent of his genius and had not, at the time, even 
the most distant idea of what his achievements 
might ultimately lead to. 

and expressly stated in the preface that he composed the 
story after 'the novel of Kalapurnodayam. The poem does 
not seem to have been printed yet. The manuscript is in 
t he Telugu Academy Library, Cocanada. 

Kalapurnodayam-its art. 141 

In the Prologue to his ETalapurnodayaip, 
after paying his eloquent homage to the immortal 
bards "Valmiki and Vyasa'', Suranarya selected, 
out of the long galaxy of Telugu poets anterior to 
him, only the poetic Trinity the 
His "Kavitrayam" (Nannaya, Tikkana 

originality, and Yerrana) as deserving of his 
praise. The other great poets such 
as Somana, Srinadha, Potana, Peddana, were igno- 
red as beneath his notice. In Prabhavati- 
pradyumnara, even this grudging compliment to 
the Kavitrayam "the Poetic Trinity' was dropped; 
and Suranarya, in the full maturity of his life 
work, did own allegiance to none else than the 
antique semi-divine bards, Valmiki and Vyasa. 
Evidently the unadorned simplicity and the spon- 
taneous natural grace of the three Andhra Bharata 
poets 'fascinated him and he looked down with 
some high disdain on the ornamental dressing up 
of beauty at the hands of the later Telugu poets. 
His ideal in poetic style was of the past. The 
terse idiom and the tiny gems of native Telugu, 
which Tikkana strung with matchless grace, Sura- 
narya strove to revive but the days of classic 
simplicity were gone for ever with its themes. If 
Buranarya had contented himself with his imita- 
tions of Tikkana and not originated an art and 
style of his own, he would still have been remem- 
bered as a prominent member of the school of 
Tikkana. But happily his role was to originate, 
not to imitate. The young man who spoke with so 

142 Pingali Suranarya 

much self-conscious pride in his Raghavapanda* 
viyam would, of course, not end his days in imita- 
tion however grand the original might be. In his 
Raghavapanda viyam, he cut out a new path and 
boldly asked the world to show its equal. In his 
Kalapurnodayam, there was another audacious 
venture into the field of originality and what a 
marvellous success it has been ! 

His ideal of poetic art and style at the 
time of his Kalapurnodayam could be gathered 
from his own words : 

1. "Having composed in due order the several 
words that fit in of themselves just as pearls 
are strung in a necklace, having correctly 
developed the matter with a good knowledge 



Kalapurnodayara its art. 143 

of the Vachya, Lakshya and Vyangyikinfa 
(the* spoken, the aimed and the suggested), 
having adopted the Vaidarbht and other 
styles, suitably to bring out the Rasas and 
the Bhavas (feelings and ideas), having 
endowed Pranas (animation) to each kind 
of style adopted therein, and having adorned 
the whole with figures of speech such as 
Upama and others and with tropes such as 
Yamaka and others ; if a poet has learnt to 
write poetry on these lines, who is there that 
will not grant his wishes ?" 

It my be seen that this is only a clear 
exposition of the old orthodox art and style of the 
Alankarikas ; the H asas, the Bha- 
Evolution of vas, the Ritis, the Pranas, and the 
his art. Alankaras are all given promine- 
nce and that style is considered 
the best which makes use of all these time-honou- 
red ingredients so as to evolve a fine composite. 
But the canons of art and style which he set before 
himself he was the first to disobey. Like the 
English poet, Wordsworth, he least practised what 
he preached* His actual execution was quite diffe- 
rent from what he thought he was doing. It may 
be that still Suranarya was persuading himself 
into the belief that he was clinging to the old 
while h* was actually cutting himself far away and it took him a long time to cure himself 
of his self-delusion and enunciate into principles 
e ^Ire^iy dU^yafed ^ pr^otio^ BJis 

144 Plngali Suranarya 

principles of art and style were clearly set forth in 
his Prabhavatipradyumnam. 

1. "To have learnt to narrate without committing 
slips of expression and by using words rich 
with sense ; by making the whole idea easy 
and unambiguous and without committing the 
mistake of repetition; by developing in accor- 
dance with logical order and connections and 
without endless ramifications; by sensibly 
combining each topic with the main theme; 
and by supporting it with apt illustrations, 
and, finally, by tissuing the several subordinate 
parts with the main argument properly and 
without any contradiction between the fore- 
going and the following parts of the story- Is 
not all this the result of long TA PAS ? 


Kalapurnoday am its art. 145 

. Who does not see that these very princi- 
ples were actually practised in his Kalapurnodayam 
and that the author of Kalapurnodayam was 
already in potentia the author of Prabhavati- 
pradyumnam ? and also how truly manly and how 
truly sincere is the winding up of his exhortation 
* "Js not this the result of long Tapas ? '* 

The ability to develop such an art and 
wield it with such consummate grace is the result, 
in his opinion, of his long Tapas., who can 
deny it ? Tapas, in that single word lies the key 
to his life-work, the "open sesame" of his unique 
personality ! and Tapas is but the severe discipline 
of the mind and the senses to evolve the strength 
of the soul. 

Now what was the revolution he effected 

in the poetic art of the day ? This question cannot 
be answered in a word or two. It is as wide and 
deep as the gulf which separates the literary work 
of Suranarya from that of his predecessors or his 
contemporaries and makes him "the Grand Soli* 
tary'* in the field of Andhra Literature, t 


. J Radhamadhava Kavi a predecessor of Suranarya, 
showed, in his Vishnumayanatakam, some glimpses of this 
peculiar Art and Style 

146 Ptafali Suranarya 

The art of Suranarya may be viewed under 
the following heads: (1) Scenic Presentation, (2) 
Story telling, (3) Characterisation 
His Art analysed. (4) Realism. 

Each main head will be 

debit with separately with a view to show how 
far Suranarya originated or improved upon the old 
and made himself a distinct personality from the 
rest of the Andhra poets. Not only Kalapur- 
nodayam but his other two poems also will be 
quoted from, to explain the originality and fresh- 
ness of his art and style, so that their gradual 
volution may be seen together in one plaoe at a 

as much to do with nature as it has, with man. It 
is t so to speak, the harmonious fusion of nature 
and man* If man is the actor, nature is the stage 
in which he acts. The one is inseparable from the 
other. Great poets always contrive to heighten 
human emotions by exhibiting them on the living 
back-ground of appropriate nature. The skill of 
such representation is the real touchstone of good 
poetry. Imagination always plays a large part in 
this ideal representation. The grandness of the 
picture is the direct outcome of the grandness of 
the poet's imagination. It is why poetry has 
sometimes been described as "painting in words. 9 ' 
The grand life-like picture, drawn and painted in 
words, floats before the mind's eye in all its ricty- 
neea and variety of colour. 

Kalapurnodayam-itft art. 

Judged by this standard, of scenic presen- 
tation, Sura nary a* s art is equal to that of any of 
the great poets of the wjrld. Wnat can be mare 
grand and more glowing than the opening soene of 
" Kalapurnodayam " ? Narada and Manikandhara 
on one side and Rambha and Nalakubara on 
the other and their meeting in the mid-heavens? 
What can be more awe-inspiring than the picture 
of the descent of Manisthambha into the presence 
of Kalabhashini and her companions ? Or again, 
in Prabhavati-Pradyuranam, what can be more 
radiantly picturesque than the scene of Dwaraka 
described by Indra descending from the sky? And 
what can be more beautifully exact than the de- 
scent of Suchimukhi into the presence of Pradyu- 
mna? Suffice it to say that, in the art of Suranarya, 
the painter is never absent from the poet. Equally 
skilful on the large or the small canvass, he port- 
rays beauty with the subdued fervour of a born 
artist. He is never voluble or wild or unconsciou- 
sly grotesque ; but even when his heart is stirred 
to its depths, the head remains remarkably cool 
and steady. His emotion rises, as it were, through 
the intellect. The fire burns coolly but does not 
blaze up in fits and starts. 

, How constantly nature is made to play its 
part in inspiring or intensifying human emotions 
is evident from such beautiful touches as the 
lottowtof : 

148 Pingali Suranarya 


1. This Rambha and he (Nalakubara) always 
give themselves up entirely to sexual plea- 
sures. Their smiles, looks, words and all other 
gestures of whatever kind they may be, will 
only intoxicate them with mutual passion. 
Every one of these signs of love is found in 
this world also. Hence to-day before they 
saw us, it so happened that Rambha beheld 
the white streak of a cloud fringing the bright 
orb of the rising Sun, compared it, smiling; 
to Sarada sitting * by the side of Brahma ; 

. &. 

tf otftf tf*]l i^ 

Kalapurnodayam its art 149 

whereupon Nalakubara, the son of the Gk)d of 
Wealth, fondly pressed in eostacy her lips 
with the tips of his teeth . 

(Kalap.C. I. V. 196) 

The poet describes in the following verse 
how a hermit (Sanyasi) was excited into love by 
the sight of a very beautiful statue* of a woman. 

2. " Then the great hermit (Sannyasi), having seen 
the grace of that admirable statue of a 
woman exclaimed in appreciation, "Ah 1 Prince 
of Sculptors 1 You excel Brahma, the Creator! 
Bow have you carved this statue ?' And he 
nodded his head and wondered if there ever 
oould be such women in this worlcty Then 

ft. fc. "~ 

150 Pinjall Surawuy* 

saying such a creature should not see a Sa- 
nnyasi, he turned away his face; but he turned 

again and again with a desire to see her ; and 
how can I express it-he fell a victim to the 
passion of love. Having narrated so far, the 
woman somewhat hesitated , whereupon the 
minister observed her meaning and left the 

place on a pretext. 

(Kalap. C. VIII. V. 169.) 


Look how the distressed Indra describes 
the great relief he felt at the sight of the beautiful 
city of Dwaraka. 

3. O Lotus-eyed (Krishna) I Now, while coming, 
1 beheld the pre-eminent grandeur of your city 
which charms with unearthly and wonderful 
beauty, and all my distress has been driven 
away thereby : so that I now appear to you as 
I was. Really, I lost erstwhile the lustre of 
my body. 1 ' (Prabhavatipradyumnam, 

0. 1. v. 79). 



Kalapuraodayara Its art. 1W 

Again, how beautifully the complex play 
of emotions in Prabhavati at the sight of Pradyu- 
mna's portrait is described in the following verses:- 

4. The portrait, which Parvati painted with such 
an exhibition of life, seemed as though it 
laughed, as though it looked with its beaming 
eyes and tried to speak to her, full of feeling 
and so, she (Prabhavati) and her maid shrank 
from facing that beauty. 

(Ibid, C. I, v. 138). 

5. With a firm conviction that it is only a port- 
rait, she would stand before it and raise up 
her face to see the face therein but, imagining 
it to be a real man, she would at once suppress 
her curiosity and turn aside her face. Once 
again she returns to see with an ardent desire 


5. *. -tj^eb ^ M^dHNfet! TCfc Ooofi -aAoo 

tf nott 

152 Mngall Suranarya 

and again withdraws thinking that her lover's 
eyes are on her. 

(Ibid C. I, v. 139.) 

The next point to be considered is his art 
of story-telling. There are five main features in 
his story-telling; psychological de- 
Story-telling velopment, moving incidents, lucid 
narration, lively dialogue, and lo- 
gical accuracy. 

The poet is an admirable story-teller. In 
the construction of his stories, the links may now 
and then be loose, but they are nowhere broken. 
The story becomes involved and the interest deep- 
ens as we proceed. Persons come upon the stage, 
do their part naturally and briskly, and make their 
exits. They are never loquacious or wildly gesticu- 
lating. The poet is remarkably exact in regard to 
their time and place. Notwithstanding all this 
nicety of care, his art does not degenerate into 
artifice but keeps up its naturalness everywhere 
except in the second part of Kalapurnodayam, 
where a combination of circumstances, as already 
mentioned, compelled tho poet to abandon his 
usual commonsense development of the plot. 

It is perhaps the scrupulous exactness of 
his story-tolling that has led an able critic to 
speak of the " pre-arranged structure '' of his 
stories. This characteristic pre-arrangement is to 
be found in all literary art ; for what story is not 

Kalapurnodayam its art. IS 3 

woven <by its author with a view to consistency of 
character and incident ; so as to subserve a certain 
pre-defined purpose T In this sense all literature, 
high or low, is only an art, but the highest art is 
that which conceals itself and Suranarya is not at 
all far from this ideal. 

The first part of Kalapurnodayam is as 
thick in incident and quick in movement as "Gotz 
Von Berlichingen" of Goethe ; and the second part 
of the poem may not inaptly be compared, in its 
atmosphere of magic and mystery f to the* 'Tempest" 
of Shakespeare. 

The rapidity of movement, the lucidity of 
narration, the natural sweetness of dialogue and, 
withal, the logical accuracy of argument, make his 
stories a highly absorbing reading. As an illustr- 
ation of all these qualities in a short compass, the 
opening scene of Kalapurnodayam may be quoted 
here in extenso. 

SCENE: Aerial route above the pleasure gardens 
cf Dwaraka. Enter Narada with Manikan- 
dhara, d Qandharva youth. 

J.MANIKANDHARA: (Wondering at the dignity 
ancf pride of the damsels swinging in the 
gardens.) O divine sage ! Do you see the 

IS4 Plngmll Suranarya 

dignified manner in which the well-stretched 
feet of those young women swinging in plea- 
sant emulation of one another on the swings of 
flower-creepers move towards the sky and 
back ? It seems as though they provoke and 
invite the celestial damsels for a quarrel, 

NABADA: "Well-done ! Indeed you are a poet. 
Indeed I have nowhere seen such grace as 
that of those charming young women. It will 
not be improper, indeed it wiil be quite correct, 
to say that their movements, up and down, on 
their swings seem to suggest that they are 
going to kick at the diadems of the celestial 

Kalapurnodayam-its art. 153 

( Enter Rambha and Nalakubara flying 
near on a Vimana and just emerging from 
behind a cloud. Rambha overhears their 
words and feels offended .) 

RAMBHA: (Suppressing her indignation) "Have 
you heard those words of Narada the sage that 
feasts on quarrels? I like that we should visit 
him and have just a talk with him. It is but 

r, vft **&*$& 



6fedBk>**ot S^oto^ftSoc 0^15 15 


156 Pingali Suranarya 

NARAD A:-(ZrQO&tngr in the direction of the sounds) 
"It appears some persons are coming and 
talking to each other. 9 ' 

The Vimana emerges from behind a cloud 
and they steer it gently to a spot underneath 
the feet of the sage and sta,nd a while touching 
his feet with their heads redolent with t'arijata 

r. a ^^-Mbbo sr*ofir*& 

*ft|tfrf**oa*o Ko 

Kalapurnodayam its art 157 

NARAD A : (Blessing) "May you both prosper 
with unceasing mutual love I " 

BAMBHA: (Smiling) "O great sage! Possibly 
due to your blessings our love may remain 
undisturbed to some extent but (pointing to 
her lover) will he remain unaffected by the 
beauty and grace of the earthly women ? " 

NARAD A : (Puzzled at these jocular words of 
Rambha in wh*ch she unburdened herself of 
her chagrin) "What do you mean? What 
made you say so ? Will you oblige me by 
explaining it clearly ? " 



udfibo iS&iWiboC efeao^K^S $*ofo. 


Sec tffo Mbtfi feo^l ^Wo tf Oa Qte d&Af". 

1 58 Pingali Suraaarya 

RAMBHA : "O holy sage ! Be pleased to oome 
into this Vimana so as not to delay your journey 
and I will go along with you and explain my- 
self. Is it not a good fortune to be able to be 
with you even for a short distance ? " 

(She seats Narada and his disciple in the 
Vimana and she and her lover gently fan him 
on either side with ornamented chowries.) 

RAMBHA: "O great sage! May I beg you to 
condescend to tell me what you were saying 
to your pupil in the course of your conversa- 
tion regarding the women who are sporting 
yonder on the creeper-swings. '' 





Kalapurnodayam Its art. 159 

NAB ADA: (Repeating whit h* said before) 4i O 
lotus-eyed woman! This was my remark. 
Please tell me if there is anything improper 
in this. Why do you hide what you have 
heavy in your mind ? " 

BAMBHA: "O sinless sage ! You are a great 
peason worthy of being venerated by the 
three worlds. You can say anything and who 
is there to object to your saying? I have only 
requested you to say what you observed here, 
which made you talk like that. Perhaps you 
said so without bestowing much thought or 
perhaps you thought that, in descriptive exag- 
geration, such statements are passable* Else 
thifc world-c^ arming person here, this darling 


Sr?C a ^ooo *6*\ 
^ *Sd Sb555ac75 ^ 

160 Pingall Suranarya 

son of the God of Wealth, will certainly bear 
witness to the fact that no women (on the earth) 
can match us (celestial damsels.) 

NAB AD A: (Gently smiling) O deer-eyed woman 1 
You can say whatever you please since your 
lover cherishes such deep love for you. Yet 
this state may not exist for all time and who 
knows if you may not have a rival in future? 
O lotus-faced! A young woman exactly resem- 
bling you and a young man exactly resembling 
him may disturb your deep-seated affections- 
Therefore is such vanity proper?" 

: (Bowing respectfully) "O great sage! 
Even if you say this for fun, I fear your words 
may become infallible; I cannot suffer to hear 
such words. Pardon me and kindly forbear 
speaking thus/' 

TCI) *e>tf>3* ox) 


Klapurnodayara it* art. Wl 

By far the most important difference in 
Suranarya's art from that of the older poets is in 
the matter of what is usually called "characteri- 
sation.'' In the older poets we see 
Characterisation, very poor attempts, if at all, in 
presenting types of human charac- 
ters , filled with intersting details taken from 
actual life. The heroes and the heroines in them 
are, generally speaking, cast in a rigid and conven- 
tional mould. Princes and princesses, living an 
imaginary life of great porap and luxury, and 
thrown into each other's arms by accident, are the 
rule but not the exception, 

Peddanna in his "Manucharitram" intro- 
duced the new element of character-drawing but 
only to a small extent ; for he could not free him- 
self ifiuch from the shackles of pure idealisation., 
Pravara and Varudhim aro more or less idealised 
beings and have been presented to us almost 
wholly in one relation of life-viz.. the imperturb- 
able spiritualism of the one and the unchangeable 
sensualism of the other. Practically speaking, 
nothing more is known of them. They have not 
been brought into company with other men and 
women and subjected to a searching psychological 

But with Suranarya it is not so. The 
drantatis personae, in his two later works, are 
exhibited with a fulness of detail and variety of 
view-point that they seem actually to live their 

162 PJngall Suranarya 

lives before us. The poet takes us behind therscenes 
and enables us to see the very workings of their 
minds, their motives of action, their hopes and 
fears, their likes and dislikes, their btruggle and 
despair, their triumph and ecstacy,in fact, all their 
inner and outer life, fclis analysis is subjective. 
The complexity of human life and the multitudi. 
nous variety of human characters, are. for the 
first time in the annals of Teluga literature, reve- 
aled to us from real life. 

The poet, however, appears to be more 
successful in his delineation of the characters of 
women than of men. His observant eye seoms to 
have been fascinated more by the extraordinary 
grace, subtlety, and wit of the woman than by the 
virility and directness oi man ; and he conse- 
quently feels a greater pleasure in unravelling the 
mysteries and sounding the depths of the woman's 

The female characters are minutely and 
elaborately drawn to life and the poet's enthusiasm 
for accuracy is so great that he sometimes copies 
the very mannerisms in the language of the fair 
sex. For instance, observe the playful sweetness 
in the peculiarly feminine rebuke contained in the 

L_" O she-swan I May your family increase 

I. IT. ' 

Kalapurnodayam-its art. 163 

the prolific yam-root ! I will plainly ask at 
once all that has to be asked. From what 
place is that parrot and why did you leave her 
without bringing her here ? " 

(Prabhavatipradyumnam f C. IV. V. 41.) 

Or look at the infinite delicacy of the 
subdued hint conveyed in the last line of the 

2. " She-swan ! What's it, what's it ? Speak 
once again. Come and see once more and say 
whether these features are the same or if 
there is any difference. I have already noti- 
ced your skill in speech and you appear to my 
mind as a great person. Alas, why do you ' 
fear ? Can you not understand our motives t < 
(Prahhavatipradyumnarn, C. III. V. 49) 

The militant energy and the brilliant wit 
of Kalabhashini, the fidelity and modesty of 
Sumukhasatti, the shrewdness and tact of Suohi- 

e% &! 

((jfiSfr*. *&. 4, a. 41. \ 
2. r\ 

! ^ofibo 

* * 49.) 

164 Plngali Suranarya 

mukhi, the high-born composure and blaj&dness 
of Prabhavati, have all been delicately and fully 
drawn with a knowledge and skill that only a 
careful and sympathetic observation can give. 

The heroes are secondary to the heroines 
It is the heroines that largely contribute to the 
action in the stories. Kalabhashini envelops the 
character of Manikandhara. Madhuralalasa is 
the directing power behind the grand Kalapurna. 
(Vide Verse 19^ canto. VIII.) huchimukhi forms 
the intellectual centre in the story of Prabhavati, 
and so on. the controlling influences invariably 
come from the fairer sex. They overspread the 
^Jfrhole Jfith an atmosphere of romantic subtlety 
aijd'deiicate grace. 

Another pleasing aspect of his art is his 
constant effort to be in direct and real touch With 
nature and man. The incidents in his stories are 

generally taken from actual human 
iv. Realism. tff e high or low, and even where 

his characters appear to be other 
than human (for example, Suchimukhi) they are 
scrupulously invested with the feelings, ideas, and 
manners of humanity. Thus we are enabled to 
see ourselves wherever we turn, and judge the 
poet's performance according to our own human 

The sweet episode of Salina and Sugatri 
is a pretty picture of one aspect of Hindu life. The 

Kalaptirnodayamits art 

bumptious mother-in-law, the bashful daughter, 
tiugatri, and the ascetic but queer-minded son-in 
law, Salina, are singularly true to life and the 
story is what we may actually see a thousand 
times over in our Hindu society even to-day. 

Compare with this episode that other epi- 
sode in the book where Brahma and Saraswati 
divert themselves on the lake and if the two are 
read side by side, one can see to what supreme and 
opposite heights the art of Miranarya could reach. 
The palpable realism of the one and the ethereal 
idealism of the other and, in both, the welcome 
presence of the intensely human heart and mind 
indicate that, in delineating his characters accord- 
ing to their dignity, the poet always clings to tho 
standards of humanity. 

Suchimukhi is a highly cultured woman 
and well fitted for the role of a diplomat. Indra 
talks and weeps not like a dethroned divmity but 
like a royal exile in this world. Pradymna disgui- 
ses himself like a common actor and the court of 
Vajranabha is most like a Hindu Rajah's court 
where princesses observe from behind a screen. 
The poet's imagination makes use of the actual 
and the seen, but not very much of the probable 
and the fancied. 

Thus in the matter of the poetic art Sura- 
narya formed for himself a singularly distinct 
and high place in the whole field of Andhra 

166 PlngaliSuranaiya 


His poetie style - its evolution and 

Prior to his Raghavapandaviyam, Sura- 
narya wrote a number of Telugu poems - some 
small and some big - the biggest one mentionable 
being his Garudapuranam. Neither this work nor 
his other early poems are at present available. 
But a glimpse of his early style is, in my opinion, 
visible in a small corner of his stupendous work, 
Kalapurnodayam. In the last canto of that great 
w>em f we find recorded a conversation between 
JEalapurna and his queen, Madburalalasa, about 
the magnanimity (Mahatmyam) of Vishnu. Kala- 
purna said that, in his previous birth as Mani- 
kandhara, he wrote a poem named Ratna-V.ishnu- 
Samvadana Katha (the story of the conversation 
between Vishnu and Rama (Lakshmi) and reques- 
ted Madhuralalasa to recite it with the aid of her 
talismanic necklace, Madhuralalasa accordingly 
recited it. The style of this interpolated piece 
differs considerably from the style of the rest of 
the poem, and makes one suspect that it may be 
some juvenile performance of the poet, which, in 
consideration of its intrinsic value and its appro* 
priateness to the occasion, he incorporated in his 
larger work, 

The style bears the impress of a juvenile 
performance in chat it is highly Sanskritio and full 

Kalapurnodayam its style, 167 

of long Samasams - a feature which is very rare 
in the later works of Suranarya. Look at the 
opening verse for instance. 

1. "The eternal abode of Vishnu, containing the 
river named Viraja , which overflows with 
nectar and has the most wonderful power of 
stopping our memory (of our human life), 
surrounded by the limitless ocean in which the 
countless spheres float about like bubbles, 
illuminated by the primordial light which 
does not need the help of the Sun and the Moon 
in which multitudes of animals, free, bright 
and pure, eternally shine like pearls, this 
abode of Vishnu stands as the centre of intel- 
ligence and happiness adorned for ever by 
all the supreme attributes, beautiful and holy, 


J V V 


168 Pineal! Suranarya 

which the great sages could see as evidenced 
by ail the Vedas." 

It may therefore fairly be guessed that 
Suranarya, like many another juvenile poet of 
promise, must have begun with a high sounding 
and pedantic style. The florid colour and the 
sonorous flow of a highly sanskritised diction 
would have captured his youthful imagination and 
his great command of language, both in Sanskrit 
andTelugu, so plainly visible even from the time 
of his Raghavapandaviyam, would have assisted 
him in keeping up to its elevated levels. 

Whatever be the exact truth in regard to 
his early style, it is evident from a chronological 
study of his three known works, that there was a 
gradual evolution, both in the principles send the 
practice of his style. Long practice, ripe reflection, 
and deep insight, brought on a gradual change in 
his literary outlook. A colloquial ease in the 
place of a laboured hardness, an austere grace in 
the place of ornamented beauty, and a definite 
preponderance of Telugu over Sanskrit words , 
these are some of the easily noticeable features of 
the change. Though he began with more of 
pedantry and less of poetry, he ended with more 
of poetry and less of pedantry. 

Notw thstanding this change, one peculiar 
predilection in style he retained to the very 
last, deserves special mention. The sltsha or 

KaUpurnodayara Its style I* 

"the splitting process*' in which 
Partiality for words are made to give more than 
Slcska* one meaning by the breaking of 

syllables, seems to have fascinated 
him from the beginning, like many of his contem- 
porary great prets such as Ramarajabhushana, 
RaraabbaJrakavi, Tenali Ra'nakrishna , Ohema, 
kura Venkatakavi, and others. It was owing to 
his great ability in this direction that ho under- 
took the composition of Itaghavapandaviyam, The 
wonderful ease and ingenuity of his combinations 
of words to fulfil this doublo purpose is a standing 
marvel. His fascination, however, for verbal play 
did not cease with the completion of that work. It 
used to make its appearance even in bis later and 
more mature works. Though later on he became 
famous, unlike his contempDraries, for the profun- 
dity and wealth of his expression, yet his early 
love for punning, did break In, now and thm,sorn9- 
times with a happy effect, and sometimes out of 
tune or taste. ' . 

How great a value the poet continued to 
attach to his ability to write dvy&rthi poetry 
(poetry with double meanings) can ba seew from 
the incidents narrated of the four Agaoaas in th 
courts,. first of Madasaya, ani afterwards of Kaia- 
purna. On both the occasions, the only 
was'considered by him to be a fit offerilj 
royal appreciation, was dvyarthi ooatry. Ttie 

170 Ptngalt Suranarya 

verses* that were composed by the poet for the 
two occasions are not, at all, remarkable for any 
real intrinsic poetic merit but only as linguistic 
riddles. Each of the verses is Tulugu wiioa read 
from left to right and Sanskrit when read from 
right to left. These literary trinkets were conside- 
red by the poet as more valuable and presentable 
than those "gems of the purest ray serene" whioh 
art BO plentiful in the mines of his works- He 
might well exclaim with his heroine Kaiabhashini, 

1. "That having thrown away the splendid and 
fortune-bringing gem which had fallen in his 

(*ir. . e. * lei.) 

. 6. *>< 172;) 
1. 4-. 


e. 4. 

Kalapurnodayam~Jts style 171 

hands, he longed and languished for a glass- 
bead which anpearei to possess somewhat a 
shade of that lustre.* 9 

(Kalap. 0. IV. V. 23) 

Unlike the other Telugu poets , either 
before or atter him, Suranarya revealed his perso- 
nality through his works. The evolution of his 
mind can be traced with something like exactness 
in the successive stages of his literary out-put. 
The development of his poetic art 
Autobiographic could be learnt, as we noticed in 
touches : the the previous chapter, from out of 
evolution of his hig own mouth> Similarly it ifl 

to W,* An 7ild equally P S8ible * mark the de ~ 
Style* lopment of his poetic style and 

here also we may leave Suranarya 
to be hie own exponent. Suranarya never stag- 
nated. He was always learning, examining, and 
developing. He was a scholar, a poet, and a 
critic, all rolled into one ; and poetry developed in 
him, like the core in a tree, naturally and conti- 
nuously, under the combined influence of genius 
and culture, revealing the stages of its growth at 
it progressed to maturity. At first a mere artist 
in words in Raghavapandaviyam he gradually 
became an artist equally in words and ideas in 
Kalapurnodayam, and finally the universe of idea* 
overwhelmed his masterful mind in Prabhavfcti- 
pradyumnam, and language became an implicitly 
ready and faithful handmaid* At firat *&% 

172 ftngati Suratiatya 

priest of external beauty, whether in nature .or in 
man, he gradually developed an appreciation and 
a love for spiritual beauty in nature and man* 
The ohange was thus from the word into the idea 
and from the sensuous into the spiritual. 

In Raghavapandaviyam his ambition was 
to write a Bhashakivyam (a linguistic poe.n) and 
there he set before himself a feat of language, but 

not of literature. Poetic expression 
Raghava- was therefore squeezed by him 

panda vi yam. within tight linguistic restraints. 

For the sake of a whim he tortured 
his mind but genius is irrepressible. Notwith- 
standing the self-torture, it peeped out here and 
there and scintillated in its natural effulgence. 
Whenever he could take a free breath, the limpid, 
flow of verses and the spontaneous harmony of 
words and ideas were there with him and they all 
exhibit tbe hidden springs of his genius. His 
language was , however , more Sanskritic than 
Telugu and his style, though laboured in the main, 
shows now and then touches of that colloquial 
ease which in later years was to become the domi- 
nant characteristic of his poetic style. 

, The conversations relating to the embassy 
of Sri Krishna (Mahabharatam) and Angada (Ra- 
mayanam ) interwoven in the fourth canto of 
Baghavapandaviyam may be quoted in extenso in 
fllostration of the easy flow of the verses, tht 

Kalapurnodayam. its style 

effortless simplicity of the language and the 
subtle movements of thought, so peculiar to the 
poet. As the quotation serves no useful purpose 
in this English Volume it is not inserted here. 

A marked change of style is perceptible 
almost from the beginning in his Kalapurnodayam. 
The artificial restraints, self-imposed in his Ragha- 

vapandaviyam , were shaken off 
Kalapurnodayam. happily for ever. Simplicity of 

language, consistency of thought, 
lucidity of ideas, and vividness of dialogue, in fact 
all the elements of an ideal story-teller have be* 
oome the leading features of his style. But the 
principles of style enunciated by him in the poem 
were, as we already saw, in the previous chapter, 
those of the old Alankarikas the bhavas, the 
ritis etc., preponderating over sense and thought. 

Thus he laid equal stress not only on the 
harmony of words and ideas and the consistent 
and ordered development of the subject matter of a 
poem but also on the rasas, the bhavas, the ritia, 
etc., which the old rhetoricians so punctiliously 
enjoined on poets to observe if they would really 
deserve the name. As in his Art, 
Suranarya honoured these princi 

breach than in the observance. 

was .different from his pre 

rigid fidelity to the old 
went even so far as to fix! 

1 74 Pintail Suranarya 

where particular styles have to be adopted, he 
chose to be guided rather by sound comtnonsense 
and good taste. The new standards which he 
practically set to himself were: 

( i ) Ira press! ve naturalism , and 
(ii) Vivid narration. 

The reader should be made to take an all 
absorbing interest in the poem, and whatever is 
told should be naturally and impressively told. 
The point of view was thus changed from the poet 
to the reader. The question was no longer how 
far the poet knew but how far the reader could 
understand. This new test changed the whole 
theory of style and led to the adoption of what 
may be conveniently called the colloquial style. 

The colloquial style, like any other style, 
has its merits and defects. On the one hand the 
poet can charm the average reader and count his 
admirers by the thousands. The reader is thankful 
that hard and obscure words do not clog his steps 
with vexatious frequency and that 
The colloquial he is enabled to enjoy a literary 
style, piece without the need of refer- 

ring to a dictionary too often and 
obstructing the flow of his enjoyment. Besides he 
is glad to hear the living language of his fellow- 
creatures rather than the inflated or involved 
expression of a pedant. On the other hand the poet 

Kalapurnodayam Its styU 

has a very delicate and difficult task to perform . 
The very commonness of the language increases 
the difficulty in the choice of his expressions. 
Vulgarism in speech is as much to be avoided as 
insipid and haokneyed cant. The easy simplicity 
of verse may, moreover, degenerate into mere 
versified prose. 

A style,so delicate and difficult, Suranarya 
chose to handle and it stands to his lasting credit 
that he acquitted himself in the performance with 
singular ability and charm* Making due allow- 
ance for a few occasional slips, the wonder is that 
he could keep himself so long and at such a high 
level of poetic inspiration, without the usual tricks 
and tropes of verse. *' The greatest writing f> it is 
said, "is that wh<ch, in its magnificent spontaneity 
carrieij the reader with it in its flight; that which 
detains him to admire itself can never rise above 
the second place/* 

It is of course very difficult, almost impos- 
sible, to convey the idea of colloquialism, high or 
low, to the English or non-Andhra reader; but the 
following examines may serve as specimens of 
a style which frequently makes itw appearance in 
every part of the poem. The reason why Sura- 
narya made such abundant use of this style in his 
poem is, I think, that tie, more than the other 
Andhra poets, introduced the dramatic method in 
his narratives. The characters in the story lead 
on the narrative, either in the form of dialogues 

176 Pfngftli Suranarya 

between themselves, or in the form of monologues 
by themselves, narrating their own actions and 
experiences. Thus the poet kept himself behind 
the scenes as much as possible and allowed the 
persons to speak of themselves which they did 
with their characteristic modes , language, and 

1. " Those words having fallen into his ears, he 

(Krishna) suddenly sprang to his feet and, in 
amazement, exclaimed, "Whatl What! The 
son of Brahma himself ! Has he come by the 
palace gate ? He usually descends direct from 
the sky I This is quite strange ! Why now 
like this ? *' 

(Kalapurriodayam, C. II. V. 16.) 

2. "The second Rarabha would say 'I swear on 

you*, and the first Rambha would say 'I swear 
on you\ and when she said 4 \Vhat is it? f the 
first repeats 'What is it?/ 'Alright let it be 

1. dr. e 

. a, 

t* cflk S^iM^or d)OC$> 


"to afcatf So 

Kalapuraodayam Its style 1 77 

sol* and the reply is * Alright, letitbaso!' 
'Why still ?' tKe second Rambha saying, the 
first reiorts 'Why still?/ 'Get away'- 1 Get 
away'. 'Yes, you said', 4 Yes, you said!* The 
one would spitefully warn the other 'Don't 
forget this*, and the other replied in the same 
terms. The one would say in disdain 'I care 
a straw for you', an^l the other *I care a straw 
for you*. *tt is improper to covet another's 
husband' and the other snapped 'ft is improper 
to covet another's husband'. Thus the two 
Rambhas quarrelled not heeding the presence 
of their lovers.'' 

(Kalap. C. 3. V. 196.) 

But occasionally the style lapsed into mere 
metrical prose as in verse 30, canto II, of the 
poem/ Without any change in the order of words 
the above verse can be written as prose. 

jb T5o0 


. a* ti. 198.) 

178 Ptagal! Suraaarya 

Though colloquialism is the dominant note, 
other phases of style have also been tried with 
telling effect, Suranarya is usually very sparing, 
like Tikkana, in the use of the figures of speech, 
whether relating to words or relating to sense, 
(Sabda or Artha) but where he uses them, they are 
of striking beauty. 

3. " O Lotus-eyed woman ! Have you noticed how 

the sea justifies its appellation, Rat Dakar a, 
(the mine of gems) by displaying on its sur- 
face their many-coloured brilliance when the 
scattering spray is lit up by the radiance of 
the Sun." 

(Kalap. C IV. V. 193.) 

4. "Have you also observed how the sea appears 

like the reclining Vishnu when yonder cloud 
benda down to suck water, the cloud reaem- 

> 8. *. 193) 

. 4. *, 198) 

Kalapiiraodayam-itft style 

bling the loose tresses of Lakshmi overlooking 
her lord and lightnings flashing up like her 
shining limbs ?" 

(Ibid, C. IV. V. 198.) 

1. " When the lovely women descended into the 
lake (for bathing) the ripples caused thereby 
moved about the lotus-flowers and the bees, 
fond of honey, would fly up and down like the 
blue dice used in their games by the water- 

(Ibid. C. VI. V. 229.) 


The Poet's short descriptions are always 
direct, natural and forcible. The mental impression 
is carried vividly for a time and the picture ia 
delineated with subtle colour and detail. A few 
examples may be cited here: 


160 Piofall Suranarya 

2. " He passed through the beautiful scenery that 
filled him with delight, praise and wonder, 
the scenery of clumps of sugarcane, fields of 
fine paddy, dense areca groves, full foliaged 
flower gardens, lotus -grown lakes, sinuous 
rirer-ohannels, rows of coooanut trees, and 
mango topes/ 9 

(Kalap. C. If. V. 134.) 

(ii) The description of the old woman 
Sugatri and her transformation into a beautiful 
young woman are both very fine and pleasing. 

3. " The old woman looked like a desolate house, 
deserted by Cupid (Manmatha) - the short and 
crisp hair banging from her head like dry 


. 2. ti. Id4) 
8. fcl! 


Kalapurnodayara Its style 191 

straw that lost it* shining aai J freshness; her 
wrinkled eye-brows looking like skeins of 
twisted yarn of spiders; the folds of her body 
resembling faded gilt; her hands and breasts 
hanging down loosely like the decaying bran- 
ches of trees and her voice, hoarse with cough, 
like the screeching of owls.'* 

(Ibid. C. Ill, v. 12i>) 

4. " She miraculously assumed the form of a young 

&. 3, tS. 128.) 

4. fc. JOO^iScCfoC6^ TB-aj^ 8)6 

1*2 PingaU Suranarya 

woman, her face shining like the full moon 
and her profuse locks spreading dark shades 
around; her large eyes ; glanced and sparkled, 
and her cheeks were radiant like mirrors; her 
bosom swelled full-grown and proud and her 
arms gracefully folded like creepers* The 
small tremulous waist was flanked up by rich 
dimpled thighs and the whole body showed 
uncommon delicacy and symmetry. '* 

The change of rhythm arrests attention in 
the above two verses ; the one is in a slow, draw- 
ling metre, quite appropriate to the description of 
an old, decrepit woman ; the other is in a limpid 
and flowing music fit for the description of youth 
and beauty. 

But the long descriptions of the poet are 
generally dull and wearisome. There is not in 
them the flexibility of imagination and the fervour 
of feeling that make even the long descriptions of 
Somanna or Peddana such fine and happy reading. 
It looks that the poet's temperament was such that 
it could be roused into sudden emotion by a plea- 
sing idea or object but the feeling and impression 
thus created faded away after a time into an intel- 
lectual conceit losing the original sense of form 
and colour and the poet, clinging on still to the 
idea and without being moved by it, described it 
in a cold and intellectual way. Of course, fanoiful 
associations, verbal jingles, and puns, far-fetched 

Kalapurnodayam Its style 183 

metaphprs and what not* crowded in and spoiled 
the first happy effect. 

But there is an exception to it. The poet's 

descriptions of moving objects, though occasionally 

long, are throughout vivid and interesting. The 

movements of Rambha and Nalakubar a in Kala- 

purnodayam and the Polo game of Pradyumna in 

Prabhavatipradyumnam are instances in point. 

The impression is throughout sustained in clear 

outline and beautifully limned in portraiture. 

In regard to art and style Prabhavatipra- 
dyumnam is practically a continuation of alapur- 
nodayam. It is like an intensified copy of the 
original. The merits and defects 
Prabhavati- ot the poet noticed in Kalapurno- 
pradyumnam. dayam are also there in Prabha- 
vatipradyumnam and that in an 
intensified form But there is one striking diffe- 
rence Whereas in Kalapurno layam. the princi- 
ples of art and style, expounded by the poet, were 
different from his practice, in Prabhavatipradyum- 
nana he clearly outlined into principles what he 
actually worked out in practice. Long practice 
and reflection matured his views on Poetics and 
the poet felt bold enough to enunciate them to the 
world. Waat they are was already shown in the 
previous chapter under poetic art. In his new 
view he laid greater stress on the construction and 
development of the plot, the logical structure of 
the argument and the clearness and suitability of 
the language to the subject matter and so on. 

184 Pineal! Suranarya 

In Kalapurnodayam his work was of an 
experimental nature but in Prabhavatipradyum- 
nam, it was a decisive triumph. Prabhavati- 
pradyumnam was, so to speak, the ripe fruit of 
his life-long poetic culture. It exhibits on the one 
hand the perfection of the poet's art and style and 
on the other the decline in originality. As a work 
of art and style, it is second to none not only in 
the poet's whole range of prolucfcion but also, 
I venture to say, in the whole field of Andhra 
literature; whereas, as a work of imagination it 
can never stani comparison with Kalapurnodayam* 
The virility and fertility of the poet's constructive 
imagination reached its meridian in Kalapurnoda- 
yam but in Prabhavatipradyaainam it visibly 
declined. While reserving a detailed examination 
of the art and the stylo of this, his last known 
poem, to be given in the review of that poem itself 
in section IV of this work, it may be pertinent 
here to compare generally these two poems with 
each other so as to show the gradual evolution of 
his style. The evolution of his art was already 
shown in the previous chapter by a similar compa- 
rison between these two poems. 

In certain aspects Prabhavatipradyumnam 

is an imitation of Kalapurnodayam. 

The two poems Some of the more important instan- 

compared and ce of imitation may be noticed 

consisted' here:- (i) The stories in the two 

poems are introduced in much the 

same way. 

Kalapurnodayam its style 181 

If, in Kalapurnodayam, Narada and Mani- 
kandhafra were shown descending from the sky, in 
Prabhavatipradyurnnam Indra himself was shown 
coming down from the heavens* In both, this 
opportunity of descent was availed of for describ- 
ing the scene of action and introducing gradually 
the dramatis personae. This kind of beginning is at 
variance with the time-honoured one adopted by 
the previous Andhra poets, in which the description 
of a town abruptly begins the story. 

(ii) In both the poems v the characters 
unfold the story in their own words. Scene after 
scene is opened and closed. The characters come 
and go and the dramatic interest widens and 

(iii) In both a marvellous and command- 
ing personality in the form of a cultured and 
clever woman dominates the action of the story. 
All the other characters (even Sri Krishna himself) 
are thrown into the shaJe. The threads of the 
story are kept in her hands and she seems for the 
time being the sole human agent of a higher 

(iv) The method of developing situations 
is also somewhat similar. As instances, one may 
comparfc the conversation between Narada and 
Kalabhashini with conversation between Suohi- 
mukhi and Pradyumna and note how the same 
intriguing method of suggestive ness has been 


106 Pingali Surantrya 

adopted in both and also witness the trick of the 
poet in creating jealousy between Kalabhashini 
and her lover by making him utter the name of 
Rambha in his sleep ( Kalapurnodayam, Canto 
IV. verse 47), and notice how the same kind of 
trick is played in Prabhavatipradyumnam by 
making Pradyurnna utter the name of Rati in 
his sleep. 

Thus the fact of imitation is perceptible 
in both. But it must be said to the credit of the 
poet that he only imitated his own work. What 
would be said of Prabhavatipradyumnam if there 
was not Kalapurnodayam behind it? Would it 
not be considered the most original production in 
the whole range of Andhra literature ? Besides, 
in his imitation he .sometimes really improved 
upon the original. 

The sccjrie between Narada and Tumburu 
which was the first important link in the develop- 
ment of .the plot in Kalapurnodayam was silly 
and unnatural ; but look at the scene in Prabha- 
vatipradyuranam between BhaJra an<l the Bra- 
hmacharins at the sacrificial ceremony of Vasu- 
deva and see how natural and appropriate it is I 

The construction of theplot in Prafrhavati- 
pradyumnam is generally speaking, more natural, 
more consistent, and more coherent than in 'Kala- 
purnodayam. The reason is not far to seek. In 
Kalapurnodayam tho poet's task was the construe- 

Kalapurnodayam-its style 1*7 

tion of a story so as to convey a many-sided signi- 
ficance/ The reconciliation of many conflicting 
elements could only be effected sometimes by the 
merest tinkering of a wild fancy and the plausible 
coherence at times appealed more to imagination 
than to reason. But in Prabhavatipradyumnarn 
the case was different. There tho poet found a 
woi kable outline of a story and what remained 
to him was to consolidate it into a whole and 
infuse it with the breath of his genius. The 
process of welding and shaping, of adorning and 
vivifying, he performed with the right insight of 
a true artist and the product of his loving care 
stands before us as the moJel of literary perfection 
for all time. If Kalapurnodayam was like a colos- 
sal statue of the Sphinx rugged in feature and 
massive in structure, Prabhavatipradyumnam was 
like the statue of Venus delicately shaped and 
chiselled by a Praxiteles. The one is an embodi- 
ment of artistic power and the other, of artistic 
grace and both together measure the range and 
profundity of the poet's genius. 

Not only of literary art but also of literary 
style is Prabhavatipradyumnam the model. It is 
hard to reckon another Telugu poem in which the 
language is a more faithful and true exponent of 
the mind. The most subtle shades of ieeling and 
the modi delicate touches of thought are expressed 
with exactness and force but without any parti- 
cular* effort or strain. The stream of language 
spontaneously flows with the stream of thought, 

Piogali Suranarya 

keeping up to its rises and falls, its windings and 
its rapids-but nowhere is a falter or an ineptitude. 
The poet reached that maturity of genius when 
whatever he spoke was poetry. Poetic language 
became the natural vehicle of his thought. The 
spontaneous flow of verses, the quick-witted and 
flexible thought, the racy idiom and the accurate 
expression - all these pervaded by a singular 
clearness and naturalness - bespeak the high 
water mark of the Telugu literary style and one 
wonders whether to admire the nimble shrewdness 
of the thought or the equally facile felicity of its 
expression. In the matter of style Prabhavati- 
pradyumnam represents the greatest triumph of 
the Telugu language, 

The colloquial style so well tried in Kala- 
purnodayam has been a decided success in Prabha- 
vatipradyumnam. The dramatic movements of 
characters and situations gain in intensity of 

interest from the fact that the 
The colloquial several characters speak out their 
style, a decided thoughts and feelings in a langu- 
success, age which is the essence of the 

refined native idiom* The women 
talk in womanly style and the men as men do in 
ordinary life. A living realism in speech claim- 
ing kinship with us is visible in every page. No 
artificial fustian or mawkish sentimentality mars 
the wen flow of wit and nature. The poem is 

Kalapurnodayarn~~its style 1&9 

indeed "a parpetuil feist of nectaracl sweets, 
where no crude surfeit reigns." 

1. "O son of Achyuta ! Whom else do we come 

here to speak to ? On a mission from Indra. 
we went to Krishna and having taken leave 
of him, we now have to go to a certain place, 
carefully bearing in mind the commands of 
both of them/' 

(Prabhavatipradyumnam, C. II. V.44) 

2. " O crest of the Yadava race ! Having seen 

you now, we have come to you, judging it 
improper to pass you by indifferently without 
rendering you due obeisance. Is it not a 
mistake to fail to pay respects to the worthy ? 
Now it is indeed the first step for the success 
of -this affair to visit you and then go forward 
after winning your favour.*' 

(Ibid. C. II. \T. 45,) 


2. *. 44 ) 


. 2. 16. 

190 Pingali Suranarya 

3. ' If it may be told and if you may delay awhile 
resuming your rapid journey, it is desirable 
that you stop a minute and speak to us without 
feeling offended.'* 

(Ibid. C. II. V. 49.) 

All this looks like a conversation in real 
life between two peoplo who happen to meet for 
the first time and talk business. Numerous inst- 
ances of this kind of dialogue, natural, witty and 
graceful, can be given from the book. The lan- 
guage is eminently simple, terse, and idiomatic. 

But this simplicity in a few places drops 
into mere common place and prose as in verse 107, 
canto III. 

Though the general beauty of the style 
is of the unadorned kind, as in Kalapurnodayara, 
yet here and there one meets with fine figures of 
speech. A. striking simile, or a metaphor or a 
description exactly true to nature is at times 
brought in to enhance the pleasure of wit and 

tf. 2. 4. 49.) 

Kalapurnodayara its style 191 

1. "When their mutual anger arrested the course 

of their love like a dam and then gave way, 
on rushed with a force, a thousand fold 
greater than before, the flood of their un- 
paralleled regard and longing for enjoyment. 
Is it possible to describe the infinite ways in 
which the waves of pleasure surged from the 
flood of desire ?*' 

(Prabha. 0. V. V. 183.) 

2. " The fort looked like the Mountain Meru with 

its bright golden colour and Pradyuoma, going 
round and round to keep guard, bore the 
beauty of the Sun, while the armies of the 
Rakshasas, stationed round the fort, broke and 
fled before him like darkness/' 

(Ibid. C. V. V. 200.) 

As compared with Kalapurnodayara, the 
descriptions in Prabbavatipradyuranam are more 

1. -cS. 

e, 5. *. 188-) 

2, <*. 

5. *, 208.) 

192 Pingali Suranarya 

brief and purposeful. The poet does not indulge 
in long rigmaroles or verbal inanities ; r and so 
far he deserves the thanks of the reader ; but in 
one respect he was absolutely incorrigible. He 
could never give up the stale and hackneyed 
methods of describing personal beauty. In Kala- 
purnodayam there was a double infliction - the 
description of the hero as well as the heroine ; but 
in Prabhavatipradyumnain, there was only one ; 
viz,, the description of the heroine. Let us be 
thankful even for small mercies. 

Thus a review of his poetic productions in 
their chronological order reveals to us the fact 
that, along with growth and development of the 
poet's mind, there has been a concurrent evolution 
in his poetic art and style. The impulse of origi- 
nality was always in him and he gave it fitting 
modes of self-expression according to the stages 
of development in his general culture and out- 
look. Poetry was the outlet of his genius and, as 
Goethe in his Fasso said, 

"Life were life no more 
Were to cease to poetise, to dream* 
Wouldst thou forbid the cunning worm to spin 
For that to nearer death he spins himself? 
From his own being he unfoldeth still 
The costly texture, nor suspends his toil, 
Till in his shroud he hath immured himself/' 


KalapuraocUyaTOlts Aesthetics and Ethics 193 


The Aesthetics and the Ethics of the Poem 

Poetry is the expression of emotions 
through imagination and in melodious language. 
The emotions (Kasas) are many and are of vary- 
ing degrees of value in poetry. The emotions of 

love, courage, pity are more po- 
Thcory of Poetry puiar than others. However, in 

poetry, as in everything else, 
the emotion of love reigns supreme. The other 
emotions are, generally spaaking, subsidiary to 
this, though rarely they too are given a leading 

But this expression of emotion in poetry 

has not only an aesthetic valuo but also an ethical 

end. JNotwithstanding a few to the contrary, 

there has ever been a general 

Aesthetics and agreement amongst critics of 

Ethic* : the two poetry that poetry (like every 

eyes of poetry. ot h er fi ne ar fc) should not only 

lead to aesthetic culture but also 

to ethical culture. Aesthetics and Ethics are the 

two eyes of poetry. If either is wanting, then the 

beauty of poetry is marred. 

'Writers on Telugu poetics (and they mainly 
reproduced the canons of Sanskrit poetics) stated 
that pootry should subserve the two ends, aesthetic 
and ethic. This is especially true of Kavya or 


194 Pingali Surantrya 

Prabandha poetry. It is said that a Kavya (an 
Epic romance) should give advice like one's own 
wife, that is to say, the advice so given should 
be given not in the form of a direct command but 
indirectly with the tenderness and caress of love, 
A good loving wife regulates a man's character 
through advice conveyed with the sweetness of 
love. Similar influence should be shed by poetry 
in general and romantic poetry in particular. 

Aesthetics is concerned with the senses and 
the sense emotions and ethics, with the soul and the 
spiritual emotions. The due co-ordination of these 

two kinds of emotions, bimsuous 

reddana and and spiritual, so as not to offend 

Suranarya con>pa- the moral order of the Universe 

red and contras- bas boon tho supreme ideal of all 

ted. great poets m the world, liven 

in our own country (Andhra 
deea) each great poet from Nannaya downwards 
felt the force of this ideal and gave adequate ex- 
pression to it each in his own way But it was left 
to Peddana to bo tho rirst to give a conscious and 
creative expression to those two apparently conflict- 
ing emotions, sersuous and spiritual, and establish 
the sublime moral order of the Universe, Pravara 
and Varudhini respectively represent the two emo- 
tions, the spiritual and the sensuous, in conflict; 
and how f in tho poem, tho grand moral ideal has 
been maintained is evident to every reader of 

Kalapurnodayam-Its Aesthetics and Ethics 195 

I. "A Brahmana, through the influence of tha 
senses, will get ruined by becoming a victim 
to the keen arrows of Cupid who is singularly 
clever in crooked deeds and by thus falling 
away from his royal position in the eternal 
joy of the Brahman.'* 

(Manucharitra, C. II, v. 60). 

So said Feddana and decided the conflict 

in his own way. But Peddana merely livtd in the 

ideal. In his opinion, there can be no compromise 

between these two opposing ele- 

Peddana's Brah- ments, the spiritual and the sen- 

manical ideal, SUOUS. The world has to be 

Suranarya's either the one or the other but 
Kshatriya ideal. it cannot be both together, with- 
out offending the moral order of 
the Universe. This uncompromising view of 
Peddana, the Advaitic, the "Brahmanical" or "Sat- 
vie** view of the Universe has its own place in the 
Hindu Philosophy or Hindu Society. But in the 
nature of things, it can only be held by a few, 
those pure spiritualists to whom the world does 
not exist at all or only exists as Maya or Illusion. 
The majority of the human beings in the world 
think and act otherwise, ffor them the good things 

1. .. 

. a* 2. 

196 Pingali Suranarya 

of the world also matter. They are not onlymoved 
by the ethical beauty of the spiric but also by the 
sensuous beauty of the world. Thay thus effect 
a compromise in their lives. While enjoying the 
pleasures of the senses, they are equally conscious 
of the sublimer pleasures of the spirit. They keep 
up a just co-ordination between the two elements. 
This is what may be called the Visishta-Advaitic, 
the "Kshatriya" or the "Rajasic*' view of the 
Universe. This view was represented by Sura- 
narya in his Kalapurnodayam. The Bra hm ana hero, 
Pravara, in Manucharitram, represents the purely 
spiritual side of life and the Kshatriya hero Kala- 
purna represents the judicious blend of sense and 
spirit in life. His two wives, Abhinavakaumudi 
and Madhuralalasa, represent these two influences 
the spiritual and the sensuous ; and the great king 
who conquered Madasaya and Rupanubhuti i. e. v 
the lower sensual nature of man, nevertheless, 
respected Madhuralalasa the element of the higher 
sensuousness in man. Thus, if, in the aesthetic 
and the ethical view of human life, the master- 
mind of Peddana set up the ethical ideal as 
against the aesthetic, another master-mind, or 
rather, the only other master-mind of the time 
harmonised the two in a happy blend, still keeping 
up to the moral order of the Universe. 

Apart from this our own metaphysical 
interpretation of Kalapurnodayam, we learn from 
Suranarya himself that he consciously attempted 

Katapurnodayara its Aesthetics and Ethics 197 

to set UQ a just balance between the two elements 
for he says in the beginning of his work that it 
shall be, 

1. "Fresh in the erotic sentiment and interesting 
on account of the description of sacred and 
good things/ 1 

i. e M the aesthetic (erotic) and the ethical (religi- 
ous) elements should be both represented in his 
work. Every character in the poem exhibits these 
two phases of culture. In some characters the 
aesthetic is more than the ethical and vice versa. 
Manikandhara's severe penance and his amours 
with Rambha; Salina's worship in the temple of 
Sarada and his eccentric love for his wife Sugatri; 
Manisthambha's austerities and his lust for Kala- 
bhasbini; Kalapurna's devotion to Vishnu and his 
love episodes with his two wives; are some of the 
more important instances of the kind. Even the 
great god Brahrna delicately sports with his divine 
spouse, Saras wati, on the lake and illustrates the 
refined union of spirit and sense. A more curious 
instance of the exhibition of the Aesthetic emcrtion 
in conjunction with the ethical is to be seen when 
Sugraha (afterwards Satwadatma) visited the 
Vishnu temple at Brindavanara. A. certain Sanya- 
sin, after praying to the god Vishnu, happened to 
see a beautiful statue of a woman in the compound 
of *the temple. The statue was so life-like and 

1 98 Pingali Suranarya 

beautiful that the poor Sanyasin yielded to the, 

impulse of love and embraced it. Thus there are 

numerous instances in the pojrn to show that, in 

the view of the poet* the two sentiments the 

aesthetic and the ethical, have to co-exist in man 

and sway his thoughts and feelings, according to 

their respective strength. It is also evident irom 

the poem that the highest ideal is that in which 

the two are co-ordinated and together subserve the 

eternal progress of humanity. 

The older great Telugu poets (Srinadha 
hardly excepted) never gave too much importance 
to the aesthetic < r erotic sentiment. They were 
busy with topics in which not 
History of Ero- only love but the other senti- 
tism (Srungara) in ments of the human heart played 
Telugu poetry, an important part. The litera- 
ture which they produced was 
more religious than erotic. Neither in the subject; 
matter of their poems nor in the manner of their 
treatment did they exhibit undue fondness for the 
erotic sentiment. 

But during the age of Krishnadeva Raya 
a change was coming about. The religious or the 
ethical sentiment was losing its hold on man's 
minds and there was the danger of theerotfc senti- 
ment taking its place and being the ruling passiou 
in the people. The great Krishnadeva uttered a 
grave warning in his "Arnuktamalyada" that the 

Kalapiiraodayam Its Aesthetics and Ethics 

love that should possess the minds of men should 
be the love of God. Peddana, his poet-laureate, 
followed suit and in his "Manucharitram" went a 
step further and said that there can be no compro- 
mise between the ethical (religious^ and the 
aesthetic (erotic), and gave his opinion in favour 
of the Ethical. Ramarajabhushana, his pupil 
and successor, preferred the erotic and ihe sen- 
suous and hardly troubled himself about the ethi- 
cal and the spiritual. The lesser poets swayed 
between the two ideals, some approaching the one 
and some, the other. Nrisimhakavi in his 'Kavi- 
karnarasayanam* or 'Mandhatacharitram' boasted 
that he was equally skilful in presenting the two 
sentiments, the ethical and the aesthetic, so that 
a spiritualist (yati) may, by reading bis erotic poe- 
try > become an erotist (vita) or an erotist (vita) by 
reading his spiritual poetry become a spiritualist 
(y#ti), In his poem we thus have either an excess 
of the religious sentiment in one part or an excess 
of the erotic sentiment in another part 
1. "How can a sage escape from becoming an 
erotist (voluptuary) by listening to the erotic 
descriptions in my poetry ? And like-wise an 
erotist cannot escape from becoming a sage by 
hearing my descriptions of spirituality/ 1 

(Kavikarna. 0. I, v. 

1. "3. A, 

200 Plngali Suranarya 

In such a time of transition when the 
Telugu literary taste was changing from the reli- 
gious into the erotic kind and the minds of the 
people were unsettled as to their relative values, 
Suranarya lived and wrote. Like the other 
master-minds of the day he felt called upon to 
decide between the rival claims of the two confli- 
cting sentiments ; and his decision is characteristic 
of his culture and character. He deliberately 
showed that the id-al of humanity is a harmonious 
and co-ordinate blend of the two sentiments, spiri- 
tual and sensuous. Each has to be restrained by 
the other from transgressing its limits. Neither 
too much spirituality nor too much sonsuousness 
can be the ideal of the common human life. But 
his wise words were unheeded by the rising gene* 
ration of poets. In their hands the balance bet- 
ween the aesthetic and the ethical tilted more and 
more in favour of the former and we thus witness 
for the first time in Andhra literature the gross 
extravagances of erotism (Sringara) that tainted 
the literatures of the courts of Tanjore and Madura. 

We have already seen that, in the psycho- 
logical analysis of character, the poet is inimitable* 
But here also, there is a limitation. r l hough the 
thoughts, motives and ideas of 
Suranarya weak the personae are usually finely 
in expressing analysed and expressed, "yet, in 
ccstacy of passion, the province of the emotions, 
nature seems to have set a Unit 
to his powers of expression. The gentleness and 

Kalapurnodayam its Aesthetics and Ethics 201 

pathos of feelings, the subtle complexity of their 
intertwining, and the slow undulating progress in 
their career, are generally described with much 
elegance and grace ; but when it comes to the in- 
tensity of feelings, the mad rush of passion or the 
ecstatic glow of emotion, when on the white crest 
of frenzy, the human heart dances wild with joy 
or fear, the poet's language fails. In such situa- 
tions be either descends into a cold intellectual 
conceit or cries in melodramatic rhapsody. Com- 
pare the language of Prabhavati in the ecstacy of 
her passion for Pradyumna- 

1. U 0h, if such a handsome person should exist 

anywhere, if I could get him into my embrace, 

and if he should enj )y with me all longed-for 

pleasures, what would be then my feelings 

and ideas ! " 

(Prabhavatipradyumnam, C. Ill, v. 41) 

See how the verse ends here in a feeble 
intellectual idea ! Or take for instance, a similar 
situation of Pradyumna his frantic longing for 
reunion with her 




. 3. 

202 Pingali Suranarya 

2. "Will you not come to me, O woman, < whose 
faoe is like the moon ! Will you not come to 
me, O woman, whose bosom is high and full ! 
Will you not come to me, O woman, who art 
charming ? Will you not come to me, O woman, 
whose voice is like the cuckoo's ? Will you 
not come to me, O woman, who art well- versed 
in the Fine Arts ? Will you not come to me f 
O woman, whose gait is like the swan's ? Will 
you not come to me, O woman, who art a mine 
of virtues ? And will you not come to me, 
O woman, whose body is so delicate ? " 

(Prabhavatipradyumnam, C. V, v. 139). 

No passion here, except a string of high sounding 
phrases! In several other situations of the kind, 
when the fire of passion ought to break out 
into fervid language, the poet sadly fails. He is, by 
nature and culture, a poet of common-sense and 
sobriety of feeling and thought. A constitutional 
incapacity for exalted emotion, whether of love or 
hatred, appears to be his mental characteristic 
and of course he could not find genuine words to 
express what he could not feel within himself. 


. U. 5. *. 189 

Kalapuraodsyam-lts Politics, Religion, etc. 203 

Like Wordsworth he sympathised with good sense 
and sober emotion but when the feelings threw off 
the reins and threatened to stampede, he felt per- 
plexed and could only stutter. It is no exaggera- 
tion to say that though his two poems, Kalapurno- 
dayam and Prabhavatipradyumnam, are full of 
aesthetic sentiments and aesthetic ideas, yet the 
genuine aesthetic feeling is not so evident as in 
the first three cantos of Manucharitra. Peddana 
is pre-eminently a poet of the senses and feelings 
and Suranarya a poet of intellect and ideas. So 
Peddana thrills our sensuous imagination with the 
finer effects of colour and form whereas Suranarya 
overpowers us with the wealth and profundity of 
his thoughts and ideas. The one is grand but the 
other is deep. The one soars to the sublime moun- 
tain tops of emotion but the other dives deep into 
the abysses of thought; the philosophy of Peddana 
lies on the surface and the erotism of Suranarya 
lacks fire. If the one is more aesthetic than 
ethical, the other is more ethical than aesthetic. 


Religion, society, polity, etc,, in the poena. 

The greatest poets of the world were also 
the representatives of the culture and civilization 
of the respective epochs in which they lived. 
Homer, Dante, Shakespeare and Goethe sum up 
in themselves the cultural history of Europe. Just 
so, Valmiki, Yyasa and Kalidasa Were the ablest 

204 Plngali Suranarya 

historians of the thoughts an I tendenoies of thair 
times and form lasting landmarks in the pro- 
gressive development of Indian culture. 

These are world-mindsmen whose achieve- 
ments were painted large on the canvas of Time ; 
but there is another order of poets who played a 
more limited role in being the spokesmen of their 
country and their generation. A Ohaucer or a 
Tennyson contributed not so much to the volume 
of the world's thought as they did to the glory of 
their own country. 

The Andhra country likewise possessed 
a hierarchy of poets, who, if they did not speak 
for all mankind, yet faithfully represented her 
own lines of advance from time to time and chro- 
nicled the wisdom and culture of each stage in her 
development. Great poets like Tikkana, Srinadha 
and Krishnadeva felt that they were writing not 
for a section or a community, but for the whole 
Andhra nation and their works are monumental 
landmarks in the progressive culture of the 

Suranarya aimed higher. He endeavoured 
to write not only for the Andhra country but for 
the whole of the Bharatavaraha, nay, for the 
whole world. His book, so he thought, should in-* 
terest the people of the South as well as the North 
of India and mankind in general. The culture 
and civilization of the Bharatavaraha are to be 

Kalapuraodayam its Politics, Religion, etc. 205 

incorporated in the poe.n so .that the essential 
unity of *the wh3le co mfcry in all that vitally con. 
cerns man may ba brought prominently into view. 
The kingdom of Kalapurna, in other words, should 
not be a mere geographical expression, Bharata- 
varsha, but represent the essential infusion and 
permeation of kindred thought and purpose, from 
the Himalayas to Cape Comorin and from Maha- 
rashtra to Andhradtsa and even typify the pro- 
gress of the human soul in general. Hindu culture 
and thought, he wished to point out, are not confined 
to any particular spat in the Bharatavarsha or 
India bat pervade the whole realm from one end 
to the other, so that people coming from all corners 
of the country may meet on a common platform 
and discuss and feel amongst themselves as if they 
were membars of a single family. Kalapurna 
should thus, in his opinion, symbolise not only 
political unity but also social and religious unity 
in the country. If not in this sense, in what other 
sense can it be said that the poet has introduced 
his dramatis p*rsouae from all the various parts 
of the Bharatavarsha ? Kalapurna comes from 
Bengal; Manisthambha and Sumukhasatti from 
Kashmir, Madhuralalasa from Dwaraka, Satwa- 
datma from Maharashtra, Maiasayaland Rupanu- 
bhuti from the Andhradesa; Alaghuvrata from the 
Pandya country. I bus the characters in the poem 
come from all parts of the Bharatavarsha and 
meet and sympathise with one another and pay 
homage to their common sovereign Kalapurna, 

206 Pingali Suraoarya 

Kalapurna is thus the embodiment of the political, 
social, and religious unity of the great Bharata- 
varsha. The poem is therefore a pan-Hindu poem 
co-extensive with the country in which the Hindus 
live and co-eternal with their culture and civiliza- 
tion. If the English poet, Spenser, allegorised the 
English nation in his "Fairie Queen*' his con- 
temporary Hindu poet, Suranarya, allegorised the 
whole Hindu nation in his 'Kalapurnodayam 1 . 

In Kalapurnodayam more than in any 
other Telugu poem of the 16th century (Amukta- 
malyada hardly excepted) we find considerable 
evidence of contemporary life political, social and 
religious and this has become possible for the 
following reasons : 

(i) Since the former Telugu poets were 
engaged in translating Sanskrit works or develop- 
ing stories already existing in Sanskrit literature, 
they had not much freedom of choice or movement. 
But Suranarya wrote a new and independent story 
in his Kalapurnodaya u and in it he could insert 
whatever he wished. 

(ii) Unlike the former Telugu poets, 
Suranarya developed to a very high degree, the 
"Anthropomorphic" method of delineating divine 
or semi-divine personage* and this enabled him to 
introduce types of contemporary life under the 
guise of divinity. 

Kalapurnodayam Its Politics, Religion, etc. 207 

.(iii) He freely mixed gods and men in 
the evolution of his story. 

(iv) He was always anxious to give a 
geographical or a historical reality to the incidents 
in his poem. 

For these and other reasons, the book con- 
tains a considerable mass of facts relating to 
contemporary politics, religion and society of 

which some of the more important are gleaned 
and collected here under the above three heads. 

It is hoped that they are of sufficient interest to 
justify their mention here. 

The centuries that witnessed the growth 
and decay of the Vijayanagar Empire formed the 
period of a keen political and religious struggle in 
Southern India. The struggle was not between 
the Hindus and the Mahommedans 
Religion. alone but also amongst the Hindus 
themselves. The different reli- 
gious sects amongst the Hindus contended for the 
propagation of their respective creeds and, backed 
up by support, spiritual or temporal, they strenu- 
ously disputed hegemony with one another. The 
ancient religion of Southern India, Saivism, now 
hoary with age, was drawn into a contest with a 
young rival, Vaishnavism, which, by a superior 
blend of Beauty and Love, oaptured the faith of 
some crowned heads and was making a great head- 

208 Pingali Suranarya 

way against its opponent. There was again the 
cult of Saktaism, which, though associated with 

some horrible rites and ceremonies, exercised a 
considerable influence on men's minds. These 
three leading religious cults in Southern India, 
were waging a half-political and a half-polemical 

Coming particularly to the House of 
Vijayanagaram, it appears that the first dynas- 
ties of Vijayanagaram were adherents to the 
Saivite faith ; but even here the young and for- 
midable rival, Vaishnavism, was able to effect 
a breach. Though the kings of Vijayanagaram 
were at no time fanatics in any one cult but rather 
liberally supported all the various creeds of 
Hinduism, yet as a matter of personal belief and 
worship, they gradually veered away to the Vai- 
shnavite creed. The struggle of the religious sects 
in general and the final triumph of Vaishnavism 
in particular in capturing the house of Vijaya- 
nagaram forms, I think, the religious background 
of the whole story of Kalapurnodayam. Since the 
story represents the triumph of Vaishnavism as 
against its rivals it gave the poet an opportunity 
to contrast the former with the two latter religions. 
If Kalapurna represented Vaishnavism, Madasaya 
represented Saivism and Manisthambha Saktaism; 
and the spirit of each sect was brought out in the 
character of its representative. 

Kalapurnodayam-lts Politics, Religion, etc 109 

Far more interesting from a literary point 
of view are the glimpses of Hindu society, scat- 
tered here and there in the course of the poem. 

The episode of Salina and Sugatri gives us 
a beautiful picture of a peculiar aspect of Hindu 
family life, which even now is a pretty frequent 

experience in the Hindu family sy- 
Society stem. It represents a Hindu family 

having no sons but a daughter and 
expecting continuance of progeny through her and 
for the fulfilm mi of which the son-in-law (her 
husband) has been kept in the house. The pleasant 
humour and wit with which the poet described this 
family life forms a veritable monument of his 
poetic art and well repays perusal a hundred times. 
The bumptious mother-in-law conscious of her own 
importance in the house and chafing at the way- 
ward conduct of a by no means docile son-in-law ; 
the meek daughter, Sugatri, anxious to please both 
these self-willed creatures and prevent a rupture 
between them; and the son-in-law asserting his 
own independence by a shrewd waywardness ; 
which upset his mother-in-law's calculations to 
dominate over him; all these have bean drawn 
true to life and these type* still continuu to exist 
even in the modern Hindu family system. 

Another picture ( f a Hindu family of a 
somewhat different type is also seen. The family 
of Alaghuvrata in Negapatam was wholly devoted 
to self-sacrificQ and the realisation of an ideal at 


210 PIngall Suranarya 

whatever cost. Alaghuvrata's father, Som* Sarma, 
juat before his death, enjoined on his eon to con- 
tinue to feed Brahmans (Annadana) at whatever 
cost and risk. Alaghuvrata^ true to the injunction 
of his father, was feeding the Brahmans day and 
night and consequently became poor. Be sold his 
lands, houses and other properties, and had only 
the jewellery on the persons of his four wives. He 
had no mind to give up feeding Brahmans and 
called his four wives together and explained to 
them the state of things. They very eagerly wel- 
comed the oppbrtunity of helping their husband 
and were ready to give up every bit of their jewel- 
lery (except, of course, the sacred marriage tie) 
for the purpose. Since each one pressed that hers 
should be accepted first, the husband was obliged 
to take all their jewellery together. 
1. "The husband was moved to a higher degree 
of love than before at the appearance of his 
wives who very gladly heaped before him all 
their ornaments, save their marriage strings f 
with a desire to excel each other in the in ten- 
sity of their love to him. Indeed the best 
ornament for a wife is to show her fidelity to 
her husband/' (Kalapurnodayam, V. VI, v* H9) 

tfoX* tfoK tfjAtdft Crtg* iToarVb are. 

**A at) 

Kmiapurnodayam-lts Politics, Religion, 4*6 3W 

Even t this was spent in no time and poor 
Alaghuvrata was again at his wits' end. He was 
determined not to give up the feeding at any cost 
and he devised a plan of selling his wives as slaves 
to a slave-dealer who frequented the seaport of 
Negapatam for purchasing slaves. The wives 
were sold as slaves and shipped off. We see here 
the noble self-denial of a Hindu wife, the absorb- 
ing spiritual outlook of a Hindu householder, and 
the resolute enthusiasm with which they endure 
privations and sacrifices: all touch ingly illustra- 
ted in this story. 

Yet again another picture. This time 
the sweet simplicity of child life and the watchful 
fondness of Hindu parents for their children are 
described with a wealth of interesting detail. The 
child life of Madhuralalasa, the only Daughter of 
Madasaya and Kupanubhuti, arrests our attention 
and transports us back into the scenes of our own 
early life. 

2. "With her tinkling anklets and small bells, 
her gold-rings, tiger-claws, and conch-shell 
necklaces, her bracelets and bangles and 
glittering hair-ornaments, she looked so 
pretty and charming and made her parents 
happy by her childish pranks. 

(Kalapurnodayam, 0. VI , v. 199), 

ot dte* sfcotfc 3-*c ttfe 

212 Pfagali Suranarya 

3. "After the lapse of some days, this best of girls 
played with her playmates at games like 
'doll-wedding*, 'children's feats*, 'cowrie- 
games*, 'scattered seeds*, 'hide and seek*, 'run 
and catch* and so on and gave infinite joy to 
her parents." (Ibid. C. VI, v. 202) 

Last but not least is the marriage cere- 
mony between Kalapurna and Madhuralalasa and 
who does not see here the most convincing proof 
of the essential continuity of Hindu social life 
that happy and inseparable blend of religion and 
society ? The marriage cermony so minutely 
described, does not differ in the least from what 
obtains now-a-days in the higher life of Hindu 
India; the same rites and ceremonies, the same 
hilarity and conviviality the same wit and humour 
and what a perfect picture of the inseparable 
union of heart and soul in the holy Hindu wed- 
lock ! 

The Government was a limited monarchy 
and was carried on by the King with the help of 

. 6. A 202.) 

Kalapurnodayam Its Politics, Religion, etc 2IJ 

a prime minister and a number of other ministers 

who were in charge of the various 

Polity departments of the state. The king 

consulted the prime minister on 

all important matters and was guided by his advice* 
If the king represented courage (sourya) the prime 
minister represented prudence (Nitis). 

The solicitude of the king for his people 
was boundless. This was naturally evinced in the 
levy of taxes, so that the pDor people might not 
feel the oppressiveness of the impost. In this 
connection, the conversation between the pleasure- 
companion (narma sachiva) and the king Kala- 
purna is full of instruction and interest. When 
costly arrangements on a large scale ware being 
made to afford some diversion and relief to the 
love-lorn heart of the king, the pleasuro-compa- 
nion (narraa sachiva^ playfully twitted the sove- 
reign whether it would not be better to levy a 
"Belief of Love Tax*' upon the people. (Kala- 
purnodayam, Canto VII, verse 23). 

An illuminating ray of light is let in by 
the poet in to the private daily life of the Hindu 
Sovereign of old : 

214 Plngall Stiranary* 

1. "Some time in the performance of the daily 
routine of religious rites, some time in hold- 
ing private counsel with ministers on matters 
like peace and war, some time in bodily exer- 
cises in the gymnasia, some time in elephant- 
riding or horse-riding, some time in worship- 
ping Qod and feeding Brahmans, some time in 
the daily round of baths and eating, some time 
in witnessing dances and music, some time in 
the pomp of holding durbars with ministers, 
feudal chiefs, and others- thus you spend your 
days and nights- and you have no time to think 
of your sweet heart. (Kala. C, V II, v. 34) 

3. &. 



.. 7* t. at.) 

Kalapuroodayam its Politics, Religion, etc 219 

shows how Hindu kings, instead of 
being the leisurely and indolent creatures they are 
some times supposed to bd, are actually hard 
worked people, hardly able to find time for their 
private concerns. But of course there are kings 
and kingn. 

Another point of considerable interest is 
the arrangement for a campaign. This has been 
elaborately described by the poet and furnishes us 
with much information as to how the Hindu 
armies moved in the campaigns. A.p vrt from the 
main army, consisting of the four kinds, the 
infantry, the chariotry, the cavalry and the ele- 
phants, there used to be a host of palanquins, 
sedans, and other vehicles in which the wives and 
the children of the king, the leading chiefs, and 
the commanders were carried. Just before the 
start, the Vedio Brahraans chanted hymns of 
victory and the heralds loudly vicif orated the 
titles and insignia of the sovereign and his feudal 
chiefs in due order; and amidst a blare of trumpets, 
sounding the voice of victory, the king made the 
first rao^e on his state elephant, followed by the 
chiefs and the battalions in the array of battle. 
The spirited mock-fights, one battle cries, and the 
din of drums and trumpets all combined -to make 
a deafening noise during the march. 

The commissariat always preceded the 
army on the march and opened stalls at every 
stage where the necessary foodstuffs and other 

2l6 Pfngali Suranarya 

requirements were sold to the an *y. The .moving 
tents, like moving houses for -he ladies of the 
harem and the moving stalls like a moving 
bazaar, made the whole army on the march look 
like a huge city in motion. 

The poet described all this with the minute- 
ness of detail which is his characteristic in 
everything. (Vide Kalapurnodayam, Canto VIII 
from verse 28 to verse 44). This account may be 
usefully compared with the description of the 
campaign in Nrisimhakavi's Kavikarnarasayanam 
that other poetical repository of the military life 
of the period or the descriptions of the campaigns 
of Krishnadeva Raya as given m Rayavachakam 
and one oan have a good idea of the elaborate 
military movements in the Sixteenth 'century in 
which the Hindu kings of Vijayanagaram were 
engaged in their conflict with the Muhammadan 
kings of the Deccan or the Hindu Kings of Utkal. 


The Place of the poem in the History of 
Aijdura Literature, 

Now that the poem has been reviewed in 
many of its aspects, a general estimate may be 
formed of the poem and its place in -Andhra 
literature. In this as in every other matter per- 
taining to the poet, one has got to find one's way 
without any appreciable aid f ro n old Andhra 

ttaUpuraodayam-its Politics, Religion, etc 

Literary critioism-at any rate in the sense 
in whidh it is now understood-is practically absent 
in Telugu 9 or for the .matter of that-in Sanskrit 
literature as well. In the books dealing with 
Poetics or Rhetoric, in both the literatures, there 
is always a good deal about poatic diction, figures 
of speech, character analysis, etc.; but one will 
be sorely disappointed .if one desires to know about 
the merits or the demerits of any individual poet 
or poem. Literary biography and literary criticism 
are thus practically absent and have got to be 
formed gradually in .Andhra literature as it is 
being at present done in Sanskrit literature. 

Now, turning to this particular poet arid 
poem, there is almost nothing in record to show 
what the people of old thought of either. The only 
note of antiquity that comes to us in regard to 
this p>em, is in the nature of a stray verse attri- 
buted to that well-known poet, humourist , and 
critic, Tenali Rarnikrishnv He says: 

I. " Thinking and thinking, Suraparaju ( Sura- 
narya) wrote Kalaparnoiayam in fancy so 
as not to be understood. 1 * 

Here in a nutshell is put the essence of 
the poet and the poem. It is evident from the 
above that Teiugu critics in the past considered 


218 Pinffali Suraoirya 

Suranarya* as we do now, to be pre-eminently 
reflective or thoughtful ; but only the/ were 
perplexed as to the chief product of his thought - 
his Kalapurnodayam - which they considered to be 

It was often pointed out by me in the 
course of this review that the special characteri- 
stic of Suranarya is his desp an 1 subtl * thought. 
His mind was specially constituted for thinking - 
thinking which is as high as the hills and as deep 
as the sea, Whether it is in the triple weaving of 
the allegories in the poem or in pursuing the 
labyrinthine intricacies of his plot or in unravel- 
ling the minds of his characters - he is deep, subtle, 
and pre-eminently reflective. 

Again, the best product of his thought is 
his Kalapurnodayam. From whatever point of 
view it is seen it is a truly wonderful production, 

(i) In the matter of its subject, it is the 
first of its kind; neither borrowed nir adapted 
from any previous sources the story has been 
invented by the poet from baginriing to end. At 
the same time it is not a simple or a single story ; 
but hidden in its folds we havo three allegories , 
I think, each perfect in its details and admirably 
fitted into the frame work. 

(ii) In the matter of its style it is again 
the first 6f its kind ; tor the colloquial style was 
not used by any Andhra poet hitherto either so 
extensively or so freely as in this pojrn and iura- 
iurya WAI the f irat to use it. 

Kalapurnodayam -its Politics, Religion, etc 

Jiii) In the matter of characterisation* 
(viz.) the psychologic*! an*lyjis of its disasters - 
it is the first of its kind ; for in no previous 
Telugu poem do we find so many truly human 
characters, closely and consistently developed. 

(iv) Last but not least, there runs through 
the whole poem, as through all tha truly great 
poems of the world a deep spiritual purpose - the 
struggle of humanity towards the Divine ideal. 

Considered from all these points of view, 
it may safely be declared that the poem is a stu- 
pendous performanca - uuiqae not only in A.ndhra 
Literature but also in the literatures of the world. 

1. 44 May this great poem become famous and ba 
highly praised in all countries by the grace 
of Sri Krishna , the divine dancer , whose 
memory is universally praised by all men and 
also by the blessings of such good men as are 
fortunate in cultivating the passion for 
constant study of the holy Sastras.'' 

(Kalapurnodayam, C. VIII. V. 262.) 

&. 8. 

Jlie Itife of 






J HE last known poem from the prolific pen of 
this gifted poet is his exquisite Prabhavati- 
Pradyumnam. This poem was the product of his 
riper age when, after satisfying the ardent im- 
pulses of his poetic ambition and enjoying the 
well-deserved encomiams of the princes and the 
people, he could turn his thoughts to his home and 
family. The glorious reward of a life of incessant 
toil and achievement lies in the ripe wisdom and 
contentment of old age and the victor, no more 
looking forward to "fresh fields and pastures 
new, " turns back his eye upon his past. He 
grows self -critical and endeavours to discern the 
roots of his power and personality. 

' This self-critical stage of life, Suranary* 
reached and when, in the crowded retrospect of a 
poetic harvest, he looked back upon the makers of 
bit destiny, what great personality arrested his 
attention ? It was the full stature of his father, 

322 Piogall Suranarya 

long ago gathered to his fore-fathers, bat still 
shedding his spiritual influence, as from another 
world, upon the dutiful son whom he made. The 
son, amidst the din and conflict of a full and busy 
life and the distractions of the princes and the 
courts , never forgot the one man to whom 
more than to any other he owed the splendour of 
his genius. 

1. " Have not the Vedic scholars declared that the 
father is the god for his children ? and will 
it be proper on my part if, even after know- 
ing it, I, like this man and that man, do not 
think of my father as most worthy of ado- 
ration ? ' 

(Prabhavaii-Pradyumnam.C. I, V. 6.) 

In these simple but eloquent words Sura- 
narya expressed the intense and genuine love he 
bore to his father. The father made his son 
great and the son should make his father famous 
for all time. 


Prabhavati-Pradyumnam Introduction 223 

1. " I should also worship my fa^h >r by doing 
something within my power. Hence by dedi- 
cating a work to him I will keep up his fame 
on this earth by the grace of God. *' 

(Ibid. C. I. V. 9.) 

So in grateful recognition of the enduring 
influence of his father he resolved to dedicate a 
great poem to him for his lasting memory and 
thus the finest flower of his poetic genius, his 
Prabhavati-Pradyumna n. was accordingly dedi- 
cated to his father, Amaranarya. 

The history of tho Pingali family and the 
personality of Amaranarya, the poet's father, were 
fully described in the first Section of this book 
and it would serve no useful purpose to re-iberate 
the same here. The poet's father was a scion of 
a long and illustrious line of poets and scholars 
and naturally inherited the culturo and tralitions 
of his house. He was pious and practical and 
possessed in a large maasuro just tho vory quali- 
ties which he took care to foster in his greater son. 



The Story 

The "Prabharati-Pradyumnam" treats of 
the love and marriage of Pradyumna with Prabha- 
vati. Pradyumna was the son of Sri Krishna, the 
ruler of Dwaraka, and Prabhavati was the daughter 
of the Rakshasa King Vajranabha. The perpe- 
tual feuds between tho Devas ( Gods ) and the 
Danavas ( Devils ) made a union between their 
children impossible. But, as fate would have it, 
the element of love sprang up in the midst of the 
fierce passions and fatal memories of the two 

Like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet or 
better still, like Keat's Porphyro and Madeline, 
Pradyumna and Prabhavati, notwithstanding the 
implacable jealousies and feuds raging between 
their respective families, gradually grew fond of 
each other and secretly pined for a union. Tho 
spark of love was kindled through the good offices 
of a female swan, Suchimukhi who, for political 
reasons, undertook the mission of a go-between. 
It gradually grew into a passion and became 
irresistible. The same Suchimukhi had also to 
plan for their meeting since the fort of Vajra- 
nabha was guarded with great vigilance and was 
impenetrable even to light and air without his 
permission ; Pradyumna's entry had to be effected 
by a stratagem. Pradyumna disguised himself aa 

Prabhavati.Pradyumnatn The Story 225 

a popular actor named Bhadra, and his uncle and 
his brother, Samba and Gada, respectively as his 
assistants. Meanwhile Suctiicnukhi communicated 
her plan to Prabhavati and they both prevailed 
upon Vajranabha to permit the actor Bhadra to 
exhibit his plays in the city. By this trick, the 
three heroes who were destined to become the 
husbands of Prabhavati and her two cousin sisters, 
slipped into the city. The disguised Pradyumna 
ingeniously announced himself in a double-mean- 
ing verse both to his patron Vajranabha and his 
fiancee Prabhavati and by his histrionic skill won 
the admiration of all and particularly of Prabha- 
vati. At night he stole into the hareiu of Prabha- 
vati in the form of a bee and henceforward every- 
thing went on as merrily as a marriage bell. By 
day an actor and at night a lover Pradyumna 
lived a life of " double blessedness.'' So too his 
associates Gada and Samba carried on similar 
diaisons with the cousin sisters, Chandramati and 
Gunavati. But all this happiness was only for 
a time. The clouds of danger were gathering 
fast. The three sisters in due course gave birth 
to sons and by these inconvenient proofs of con- 
nubial life, the veil of secrecy was unluckily tarn. 
The terrible Vajranabha and his brother Sunabha 
learnt of the tioachery of their daughters and 
vowecf vengeance. Pradyumna and his kinsmen 
had to exchange the comforts of a harem for the 
alarms of war. But buchimukhi, the friend of 
their weal , was also the friend of their woe. 


226 Pingali Suranarya 

Without loss of time she apprised Sri Krishna of 
the perilous situation of his gallant sons and 
brother. Immediately he and Indra went with 
a large army and attacked Vajranabha and his 
brother. Of course the Rakshasas were defeated 
and Vajranabha and his brother slain. The might 
of conquest sealed the right of succession and 
Fradyumna and his two kinsmen not only secured 
beautiful wives but also a share for each in the 


The Sources of the Plot : 
the original story in the Harivamsa. 

The story was adapted from the Harivamsa 
or the Puranam which treats of the history of 
Sri Krishna and his family. A mere hint was 
dropped at the end of thePrabhavati-Pradyumnam 
to indicate the source from which the story was 

J. " May the Lord of Lakshrai (Sri Krishna) gra- 
ciously grant celebrity to this poem which is 
based upon a story found in the sin-dispelling 

. 5. 

Prabhavati.Pradyumnamlts Sources 227 

and which is dedicated to the 
description of the great qualities of his own 
son [ Pradyumna ].*' 

(Prabhav. C. V. V. 221) 

Upon this hint Pandit P. Mallayya Sastri 
Garu of Pithapuraai worked up and in his able 
edition of this poem, brought out under the patro- 
nage of the scholarly Rajah Sri Rao Venkata 
Kumara Mahipathi Surya Rau Bahadur Varu, 
C. B. E., D. Litt., Maharajah of Pithapuram, who is 
a very great admirer of Suranarya's poetical 
genius, he discussed at great length the question 
as to how far the poet borrowed his story from 
the Harivamsam and how he adapted it to his 
own requirements. The story as told in the 
original is as follows: 

Janamejaya said, "Holy Sirs 1 I have so 
far heard of the abduction of Bhanumati, the 
success of Kesava, and the sports of the mighty 
Yadavas in the ocean. You were pleased t o 
mention the death of Vajranabha while describ- 
ing the end of Nikumbha. I wish to hear now 
of the former if you are pleased/' Vaisampayana 
replied, "Certainly I shall narrate to you the 
victories of Kama and Samba and the death of 

i Vajranabha , the great conqueror , did 
wonderful penance on the slopes of Mount Menu 
Being pleased with it, Brahma asked him to choose 

228 Ptngati Suranarya 

whatever boon he desired. Thereon the demon 
desired that he should not be liable to be killed 
by the Devas, that his capital Vajrapura should 
abound in all kinds of precious stones, that even 
Vayu should not enter the city unless permitted 
by himself and that all desires should fructify 
immediately. Owing to Brahma's kindness all 
these came to pass. ThemVajranabha, the great 
demon, lived at his capital Vajranagara, attended 
by other Asuras. After a time Yajranabha became 
arrogant especially in view of the boons obtained 
by him and began to molest the world. He went 
to Heaven and told Indra, "We are both children 
of asyapa. So I wish to lord over the three 
worlds Therefore, yield your place to me or 
offer battle/ 9 Having consulted his minister 
Brihaspati, Indra replied, "Well, let our father 
Kasyapa, who is now engaged in a sacrifice, be 
consulted and let his decision be followed. 9 * When 
the two rivals approached Easyapa, he said that 
he would arbitrate after his sacrifice was finished 
and asked Vajranabha to go back to his capital 
meanwhile. So the demon returned to Vajrapura* 
But Indra repaired at once to Dwaraka, ap- 
proached Krishna and acquainted him with 
what has happened and appealed for his help 
against Vajranabha's cruelties. Then Krishna 
replied to him saying "Sauri(Vasudeva)is perform- 
ing a horse-sacrifice* After that is concluded, 
I will bring about the fall of Vajranabha* Even 
Vayu cannot enter hit abode without bis permi- 

Prabhavatl.Pradyumnam > Its Sources 229 

ssion. WG have therefore, to devise a means of 
entrance.'* Thus told and duly honoured, Indra 
left for his place. After a time Vasudeva began 
the Aswamedha. Then Indra and Krishna thought 
of a means of entering it. An actor called Bha- 
dranabha exhibited an excellent dance and pleased 
the sages assembled for the function. Thus 
favoured the actor chose the following boon in 
the hymn called "Devendra Krishna." " I shall 
wander over all the seven islands of this world, 
being fed by holy Brahmans. I should be able to 
wander in the sky, not capable of being slain by 
the elements, or by any individual, dead or alive. 
I must be free from all ailments and old age/ 9 
The sages said 'Amen." 1 hen the actor wandered 
over the cities of the demons, the Uttaras, the 
Kurus, the Bhadraswas, the Ketumalas, theKalabra 
island, the city of Dwaraka and other parts of the 
world. Meanwhile Indra accosted some swans 
who were carriers to the Devas and who had 
unrestricted entrance to any and every place and 
abked them to execute an errand of the Devas on 
pain of being severely punished in case of refusal. 
On their agreeing he gave them the following 
instructions ; "You enter the city of Vajranabha 
and wander over the pleasure gardens of bis 
harem.. That demon begot a beautiful daughter 
named Prabhavati, by the grace of the goddess 
Parvati. That girl is now to choose a husband of 
her liking in a bwayamvara. You have to appro* 
aoh Prabhavati, make friends with her, and 40 

230 Pingali Suranarya 

describe Pradyumna to her that she becomes 
enamoured of him and resolves to espouse him 
and no other. Similarly you have to go to Pra- 
dyumna, win his mind and make him agree to 
wed Prabhavati. You may use whatever art you 
can in order to accomplish this end. You must 
also inform me and Krishna at Dwaraka every 
day the progress of your mission. We have no 
entrance into Vajranabha's city unless the demon 
himself allows it. Pradyumna will enter the city 
in the guise of an actor accompanied by others. 
He alone can slay Vajranabha but none of us 
gods can. 

In accordance with Indra's commands, the 
swans went to Vajrapura and wandered near the 
lakes of Vajranabha's harem singing and dancing. 
The Demon was very much pleased with them 
and welcomed them to his abode. Then the swans 
began to sing the praises of the sons of Kasyapa in 
beautiful voices and thus attracted the women of 
the harem. Prabhavati was enamoured of the 
beauty and majesty of these birds and madeSuchi- 
mukhi one ot them, her companion. One day, 
after having won Prabhavati with beautiful sto- 
ries, the swan Suchimukhi remarked, "O J Princess* 
Your beauty and qualities are unparalleled. Your 
youth is flying speedily and it would never come 
back. You have now reached a stage when erotic 
pleasures should be your main concern. But though 
your Swayamvara is being held, you never approve 

Prabhavatj.Pradyumnam Its Sources 23 ( 

of any individual as your mate. Why more delay? 
There is Pradyumna, the son of Rukmini and 
and Sri Krishna. His beauty and good qualities 
are unsurpassed in all the three worlds. He has 
in him everything that you can imagine to be 
perfection." She then described the virtues, capa- 
cities and attainments of Pradyumna in glowing 
terms. Then Prabhavati replied "Oh ! dear. I 
have heard of Vishnu the slayer of demons. He 
has destroyed our race on several occosions and 
is the enemy of my father, the King of Damons . 
Thus he is far superior to us and so is his son, 
Pradyumna. It is generally desired that the 
husband should belong to a family more honoured 
and glorious than that of the father. This is 
accomplished by me if I espouse Pradyumna. I 
have also heard of his deeds, while older folk were 
talking of them. 1 also know that he slew the 
mighty Kala Sambara, So he alone shall be rny 
husband. But alas ! How am I to meet him or 
he to meet me ? So, please be my messenger to 
him and somehow get us together." The swan 
being pleased with this initial success, promised 
to oblige Prabhavati but asked the princess to 
recommend her to Vajranabha as a good 
story-teller. The princess did so. Then Vajra- 
aabha, the great demon, asked the swan to tell 
him of the most interesting thing ever come acrosp 
by her. The swan began thus ; "Oh ! King. I 
have seen near mount Meru, a lady called San* 
dilyaaud an actor Bhadranabha who ware doing 

232 Pingali Suranarya 

many wonderful deeds. The actor wanders in 
several disguises, wherever he wills. He knows 
the music of the Gods and Gandharvas and many 
kinds of dances/' Having heard this, Vajranabha 
remarked that he to has heard of this celebrated 
actor and desired to see him. He then requested 
the swan to devise means for getting that actor 
to his capital and sent hor away. The swan went 
to Indra and Krishna and acquainted them of 
this. Krishna , on hearing this , commissioned 
Pradyumna to kill Vajranabha and marry Prabha- 
vati. He also constituted several of the Yadavas 
as actors, made Pradyumna their chief, Samba 
the jester and Gada the attendant. A number of 
women were also included as actresses. All these 
got into a celestial car and reached the town of 
Supura which was very near Vajranabha's capital. 

Then Vajranabha commanded his men to 
welcome these actors, give them good lodgings, 
clothings and presents and show them all kind- 
ness. The people followed tho commands of their 
master faithfully a ad made the stay of the actors 
most happy. One day the Kamayana was staged 
and all the characters acquitted themselves exceed- 
ingly well. So excellent was the performance 
that the old folk who bad witnessed the incidents 
of the story actually began to doubt whether they 
were once again living the lit'e of their youth* 
The audience loaded these actors with riob and 

Prabhavati-Pradyumnam Its Sources 288 

handsome presents. Having heard of this, Vajr%- 
nabha'sent his men to fetch the actors to his 
capital and when they came, lodged them comfort- 
ably. One day Vajranabha celebrated the Katot- 
sava and asked the actors to stage a play. They 
readily consented The King of Demons took his 
seat along with his kinsmen and there was soon 
a crowded audience. The players began with 
a grand musical concert. Following the Gan- 
dharva tune they sang a song in praise of th e 
descent of the Ganges. Then was begun the play 
depicting the story of Rambha. Sura impersonated 
Ravana and Manovati appeared as Rambha. 
Pradyumna acted as Nalakubara and Samba was 
his jester. The play was so successful that the 
citizens gave away spices, scents, pearls, jewels, 
vehicles, elephants and their all to the actors, in 

The swan aopproached Prabhavati and 
told her that Pradyumna was very pleased 
with her attentions and promised to meet her 
that evening without fail. Overjoyed at this 
news, Prabhavati repaired to her apartments and 
got ready to receive her lover. Then the swan 
Suchimukhi went to Kama, otherwise called Pra- 
dyumna, who was in the guise of an actor and told 
him that the opportune day had come and Pradyu- 
rana agreed to do his part. Returning, the swan 
told Prabhavati that Pradyumna had promised to 
come. Meanwhile Pradyumna saw a garland and 


Ptagall Suranarya 

entered it as a bee and this was taken into the 
harem for the use of Prabhavati. In the evening 
other bees flew away and so Pradyumna migrated 
into the lotus, worn by Prabhavati in her ear. On 
seeing the moon rising, the princess remarked to 
her companion the swan, "Oh! dear, my body 
burns, the face fades away and the heart is agita- 
ted. What is this disease for which I can devise 
no remedy ? This full moon is doubling my ail- 
ments. How strange it is that I am suffering all 
this for the sake of one whom I have not seen at 
all. The cool breeze is like the eternal fire. Try 
how I might, I am not able to control my mind. 
Oh I Fie upon woman's life and fie upon youth/ 1 

On seeing this, Pradyumna was convinced 
of Prabhavati's sincerity and revealed himself in 
bodily splendour. On seeing him, the ocean of the 
princess' love swelled high, She bent her head 
low out of modesty and cast side glances at her 
lover. Thereon, Pradyumna caught her hand into 
his and said, "Oh ! dear, why this hesitation and 
modesty ? Here I am thy servant. Accept me 
and favour me with your kindness. Marry me 
according to the Gandharva system." So singing 
he invoked the God Agni in a jewel, offered him 
flowers as Homa reciting the necessary hymns, 
and went round him taking Prabhavati's hand. 
In place of brahmans, the princess bowed to the 
swan and received her blessings. Then Pradyumna 
led forth his bride and the wedding took place. 

Prabhavati.Pradyumnain its Sources 235 

When the dawn came, he returned to the danoiug- 
halL ' Meanwhile the Yadavas ware waiting there 
for the conclusion of Kasyapa's sacrifice and 
Vajranabha's setting out on his conquest of the 
three worlds. In course of time , rains set in. 
Pradyumna spent the day time in concealment in 
Prabhavati's apartments and sported with her both 
day and night. His reflection was however to be 
seen in the dancing-hall. As time went on, the 
popularity of these actors too increased. Vajra- 
nabha's brother, Sunabha had two daughters called 
Ghandravati and Gunavati. These girls entered 
the chambers of Prabhavati one day and saw her 
sporcing with Pradyumna and were taken aback. 
Then Prabhavati quieted them and said, "Dears I 
I have in me an art by which I can summon before 
me the friend of my liking and sport with him. 
See for example Pradyumna, my lover now with 
me/* and revealed him to them. She then said, 
"Now, girls ! There is an ocean of difference 
between us and the Devas.We should endeavour to 
imitate the Davas and try to espouse their sons. I 
shall initiate you into the art which was taught 
me by the holy sage Durvasa and was given along 
with the blessing of eternal virginity. You also 
choose suitable husbands and enjoy life with 
them,.' 9 On being consulted Pradyumna named 
Gada and Samba, his companions, as most suited 
to these girls. Then Ohandravati and Gunavati 
learnt that rare art from Prabhavati and sum- 
moned their lovers. Gada was married to Chap* 

336 Pingati Sura nary a 

dravati and Samba to Gunavati in the Qandharri 

When Kasyapa's sacrifice was over, the 
invitees departed to their respective homes. Then 
Yajranabha approached Kasyapa and acquainted 
him with his desire of conquest, Then Kasyapa 
replied, "OhI child! Hear my words carefully. Y*ou 
had better live in Vajrapura. Indra is thousand 
times better than you; he is older and more power- 
ful than you. His attainments are greater than 
yours. You can never conquer him but will come to 
grief in trying to do so/ 1 Dissatisfied with this 
advice,Vajranabha summoned his forces and set out 
to conquer the heaven. Then Indra and Krishna sent 
word to Fradyumna and his companions through 
the swans, asking them to get ready to fight and 
kill Vajranabha. On receiving these instructions, 
the Yadavas informed Indra and Krishna that 
Prabhavati and her cousins were in confinement 
and that their delivery was soon expected and 
awaited further instructions. The swans brought 
a reply to the effect that the three girls would 
soon give birth to sons who would attain youth 
and learning immediately and be of great help in 
the fight with the demons. Very soon these boys 
were born and became three hand some youngmen. 
When the spies informed Vajranabha of this 
wonder, he ordered that all the boys should be 
slain forthwith. Then the demons besieged the 
palace with great commotion* Prabhavati began 
to ory in fear. Then Pradyumna consoled her 

Prabhavati.Pradyumiam Its Sources 337 

saying that as long as he and his companions 
were there, there would be no danger and asked 
her what should be done, whether her father and 
kinsmen should be slain or whether the Yadavas 
should submit to the demons. Thereon Prabhavati 
beseeched him to take up arms and protect himself, 
his companions and their wives. So saying, the 
three girls presented their husbands with the 
swords and cheered thetn on to war. Having 
stationed Hamsaketu (Gada) and Samba to protect 
the Harem, Pradyumna created a wonderful cha- 
riot and boarding it, flew into the midst of the 
rival forces. Indra who came to witness this 
dreadful fight sent his own chariot to Gada and 
the elephant called Iravata to Samba for their 
use. As the battle progressed, Pradyumna appro- 
ached his companions and told them, 4 * Tomorrow 
Bree Krishna is arriving here and we have to kill 
Vajranabha with his permission. Meanwhile it is 
our duty not only to protect our wives but also to 
prevent the Demons from invading the Heaven/' 
Accordingly Pradyumna, by virtue of Maya crea- 
ted numerous forms resembling himself and pre- 
vented the Sun from setting. The Demons were 
stupified at this prolonged evening and bewider- 
ingly numerous Pradyumnas. Thus by the time 
the next day dawned three-quarters of the demons 
were slain. 

As soon as the Sun rose, Vishnu arrived 
an hie vehicle and stood by the side of Indra, He 

338 Phigali Suranftrya 

then exhorted Pradyumna to challenge Vajranabha 
and be done with him. Than Pradyamru closed 
up with the Demon and, in the duel that followed, 
hit him heavily on the chest with his mace; as 
a consequence the Demon fell into a swoon* 
After a time Vajranabha reaovered and hit Pra- 
dyumna in turn on his forehead. Then the latter 
bled through the mouth and fell into a trance* 
On seeing this Krishna sent Panchajanya f his 
Conch, to his son's rescue. His Discus was also 
sent to the aid of Pradyumna. Forthwith Pra- 
dyumna got up and cut the head of Vajranabha 
asunder. Simultaneously Gada killed Sunabha, 
the brother of the King of Demons. Samba slew 
Nioumbha. After this grand destruction of the 
Demons, Indra and Krishna came down to Vajra- 
pura, consoled the survivors, and congratulated 
the Yadava warriors. On the advice of Brihaspati 
the kingdom of Vajranabha was divided into four 
parts. One was given to Vijaya, the grandson of 
Indra, another to Pradyumna and a third to Chan- 
draprabha. Similarly the valuables, clothe*, gems 
and other properties were also divided. After this 
Indra installed the princes into their respective 
possessions. The fourth part was given to Jayanta, 
son of Indra. Then Indra told his son that he 
should protect his colleagues, that they would be 
immune from being slain by any of the elements 
and have free access to Dwaraka or the Heaven. 
Samba and other companions of Pradyurana were 
also rewarded with a number of horses and ele- 

PrabhivatJ-Pradyiimaim The nsw worku imhlp 23$ 

phants which were capable of travelling in the 
sky. Having made these arrangements Indra 
returned to Heaven. Meanwhile Pradyumna and 
his companions returned to Vajrapura. After the 
conclusion of the Mousaia war they are still stay- 
ing in the neighbourhood of Meru and are still 
ruling there by the Grace of Krishna. 


The new workmanship: dramatic treatment 
and psychological analysis. 

It will be seen from a comparison of the 
above two narratives that the story as narrated in 
this poem does not differ, in the main outlines, 
from the story found in the original. What Sura- 
narya did was only to make it suitable to his 
peculiar manner of treatment , a thing which 
every great poet did or sought to do under similar 
circumstances. Shakespeare, for example, adapted 
to a dramatic treatment in his " As You Like It " 
the story from Lodge's Rosalind. The rather 
crude materials in the original were ref inod, elabo- 
rated, or modified to suit the dramatic action of 
his plot. Sub-plots and parallel plots were either 
invented or worked out of the available 
to give a proper setting to the leadinj 
To bring out the character of Rosalir 
into prominence , Celia and OH 
thrown into the background and 
several pairs of lovers form a 

240 Pingali Suranarya 

another and also give due colour and proportion to 
the leading event of the drama, viz., the marriage 
between Rosalind and Orlando. 

A similar plan has been adopted here by 
this great poet. The characters and the chief 
incidents in the story remain the same as in the 
original, but the whole has been given a dramatic 
treatment. The form is not dranitic, but the 
substance is. The poem begins, as it were, with 
a lifting of the curtain and presents to our view 
the famous city of Dwaraka with the court of 
Sri Krishna. Then Indra descends from the sky 
and meets Sri Krishna They both discuss the 
political situation and in the course of the conver- 
sation the leader on the opposite side, Vajranabha, 
and the coming conflict have been suitably intro- 
duced. The next scene opens with another impor- 
tant character, Suchimukhi, who supplies the con- 
necting link between the two opposite camps and 
wields a determining influence on the course of 
the events in the drama. Thus a full background 
has been provided and the audience are left on the 
tiptoe of expectation as to what will come next. 
Just then, the heroine, Prabhavati, is introduced 
in the company of her friend, Ragavailari and 
their dialogue immediately turns upon the hero 
Fradyumna. Pradyumna comes next all uncon- 
scious of what is going on behind him to make 
him the centre of the conflict ; when suddenly 
Suchimukhi alights in his presence and sows 

Prabhavati.Pradyummm~The new workmanship 241 

seed for Prabhavati and of intrigue in the 
plot. Parallel to this a sub-plot is woven with 
similar threads between two other sets of lovers, 
Gada and Samba, of Sri Krishna's family, with 
Chandravati and Gunavati , the daughters of 
Sunabha, the brother of Vajranabha. The heroes 
and the heroines, now inflamed with love, work in 
their respective environments for a meeting They 
freely take the counsel and help of Suchimukhi 
who gradually reveals her personality. With her 
help Pradyurana and the other heroes are brought 
into the harems of Prabhavati and her cousin 
sister*. The political and love complications 
culminate in the dent uement of the union of the 
lovere. Henceforward the resolution begins. Va- 
jranabha and Sunabha discover the treachery of 
their daughters and prepare for a struggle. Sri 
Krishna and Indra come upon the scene and the 
Kakshasa leaders, now placed between two ene- 
mies - one inside their fort and the other outside- 
heroically fight to the last and gloriously die on 
the battlefield. The political conflict now over, 
the poem concludes with the marriage of the lovwf 
and the succession to the kingdom. 

Thus the treatment is wonderfully drama* 
tio throughout. The dramatic spirit breathes not 
only in the weaving of the plot but equally well in 
the characterisation, dialogue and other details 
of the whole poem. Critics have been puzzled to see 
fcow in an a$e when the Telugu djram* did 

242 Ptngall Suranarya 

come into existence. Suranarya could wrjce a 
Telugu Drama, but I have shown elsewhere that 
Suranarya did not consciously set about writing 
a Telugu drama even informally but merely follo- 
wed the bent of his genius, which is all for scenery 
characterisation and dialogue. For the matter of 
that, Kalapurnodayam is in parts as dramatic in 
treatment asPrabhavati-Pradyumnam and nobody 
avers that Suranarya ever wanted to write a 
drama in Kalapurnodayam. The dramatic style 
was the proper vehicle of his genius and, though 
the poet felt sure that he was writing only Maha- 
prabandhams, he was, as we now see, actually 
writing dramas and thus preparing the way for 
the Telugu Drama. 

The other novel feature in his workman- 
ship is what may be called the psychological 
analysis in character-drawing. Strictly speaking, 
this also is a phase of the dramatic treatment. 
The poet, instead of himself narrating the feelings, 
thoughts, and actions of the characters in the story 
as the story-teller, allows the characters them* 
selves to reveal their own minds by the method of 
monologue and dialogue. Tbis method of chara- 
cter-drawing is not altogether new to Telugu poets, 
for almost every Telugu poet allowed the chara- 
cters in his poems to speak for themselves accord- 
ing to bis sense of need and propriety. But what 
Buranarya did was to make this method the normal 
feature of hie poetic art. The bulk of bis poetic 

Prabhavati.Pradyumnaitt~The dew workmanship 243 

narration consists of his dramatis persona* 
speaking in the first person ; either about them- 
selves or about the other characters in the story 
so that the poet is more like the Sutradhtr in a 
drama watching their movements and arranging 
their exits and entrances. This method of psycho* 
logical analysis which we meet with in Kala- 
purnodayam as deliberately ad^ptsd in many 
situations, has become much more evident in 
Prabhavati-Praiyumnam. As instances in point, 
the conversations between Indra and Krishna, 
between Suchimukhi and Pradyumna , between 
Prabhavati and Kagavallari, and so on may be 
noted. Indra lays bare his own mind to Sri Krishna, 
and Prabhavati her mind to Ragavallari moat 
plainly and in utmost detail. Similarly when 
Pradyumna got love-sick for Prabhavati, he analy 
sed his situation and his chances clearly and 
carefully to himself. In the same way Prabhavati 
also discussed both to herself and to her confidante 
Ragavallari about the possibility or otherwise of 
her being able ever to win the hand of Pradyumna. 
The characters speak about themselves unreserve- 
dly* state pros and cons, reason and judge as people 
do in real life, but rarely indulge in melodramatic 
exhibition of passion and cant. 

Thus the poem is throughout dramatic in 
spirit ; nevertheless it was designed by the author 
to be a Mahaprabandham. It therefore satisfies 
the canonical requirements of a Mahhpr abandham. 

44 frngall Surantrya 

viz., the eighteen descriptions etc. Many a critfo 
in the past wondered how an original poet like 
Suranarya who struck a new path in his art 
and style still continued to be a slave to the canons 
and dicta of the poetic codes in Sanskrit and 
Telugu. it is indeed a matter of surprise to any 
intelligent critic that, in this poem, the poet mixed 
the best of his freedom with the worst of his 
slavery. Though Suranarya felt more and more 
free at every advancing stage of his authorship, 
it seems to me that he never could altogether tran* 
scend the influence of his age and environment* 
If, in the progress of his narrative, dialogue and 
characterisation, he cast his poem in a new mould, 
still in his descriptions, particularly, of the persons 
of the hero and the heroine, he slipped into the 
effete forms of the old time-honoured conventional 
style* This curious blend of the old and the new is 
at once a proof of his genius and its limitations. 


His poetic art -its merits and defects* 

In constructing the story of Prabhavati- 
Fradyumnam the poet followed mainly the lines of 
story-telling he adopted in his Kalapurnodayam. 
In my criticism of the latter poem in Section III 

* When dealing with the Evolution of this poet's 
art in Chapter IX of Section III, I have had occasion to 
touch briefly certain aspects of the construction ( this 
Pltsst refer to thtm alto. 

Prabhavati J>radyuiniiam-its art 349 

of this book, I showed how he introduoed 
departdre in the art of story-telling, how a strictly 
logical sequence, a psychological development of 
character and a lively and fascinating dialogue 
have combined to endow a triple attraction to his 
narrative. These principal features of his art 
have been given in this poem a freer play and 
a wider scope. The main theme of the poem is t 
of course, the love between Prabhavati and 
Pradyumna but several other strands of more or 
less importance have been woven in and the story 
has been very skilfully complicated and developed 
so as to exhibit, on the one hand, the literary 
acuteness of the poet and, on the other, his political 

The three themes in the story (i) the love 
between the chief hero and the heroine, (ii* the 
loves of Gada and Samba for the two daughters Of 
Sunabha, (iii) the political rivalry between Indra 
and Vajranabha have been handled with an 
exquisitely delicate sense of proportion and perspe- 
ctive. At no stage was the main theme over- 
shadowed by the two minor ones though at the 
same time full details of each were given so that 
each thread could be traced throughout. It was, 
I think, this aspect of plot-construction, the poet 
had in his mind when he said, in the famous verse 
describing his art and style already quoted, words 
to *h* following effect 

946 Plagal! Suranarya 

1. "By sensibly combining eaoh topio with the 
main theme, by supporting it with ab illu- 
strations and, finally, by tissuing the several 
subordinate parts with the main argument 
properly and without any contradiction bet- 
ween the fore-going and the following parts. 
Is not all this the result of long Tapas ? '' 

Another outstanding merit of this poem 
is the logical exactness of its argument and stru- 
cture. The relationship of cause and effect has 
been maintained both in measure and quality and 
little or nothing is left to freak or accident. The 
element of blind chance has, practically speaking, 
no place in this poem. For every incident, great 
or small, the cause can be sought for in the poem 
itself. No link is left to be supplied by imagina- 
tion or conjecture. The whole fabric rests on the 
basis of inviolable reason. Take, for example, the 
argument in the following verse : 

2. "You may say that Parvati's words that that 
woman (Prabhavati) shall become the wife of 
Pradyumna will not become untrue ; you may 

f. &| 


Prabhavati.Pradyu mna<n Its art 24 7 

say ,that the nicked Rakshasa will not will- 
ingly give his daughter to Pradyumna, the 
son of his enemy; you may say that, if Pra- 
dyumna should thus become the husband of 
Prabhavati, a war with the Kakshasas will be 
inevitable : you may say that, if the Rakshasa 
should triumph, it will not happen that Pra- 
bhavati's son will succeed to the throne; you 
may believe all this will ensue and that the 
dream will soon bear fruit ; as the portrait is 
there quite visible and substantial and as the 
dream was dreamt at dawn and is therefore 
destined to be realised very shortly/* 

Prabhavati-Pradyumnam, O. I, v. 128. 

and one can well see here how the whole situation 
has been argued with the exact bearings and 
calculations of cool-headed and clear-sighted sta- 
tesmanship. This feature of his constructive art, 

248 Ptagati Surma*?* 

novel in Andhra literature, I think the poet had in 
hit mind when he spoke 

1; "of developing in accordance with logical 
order and connections." 

Yet another important merit of this poem 
is the strictly limited use made of a mysterious or 
super-human power in determining or controlling 
the fate of mortals. Though the poet employed 
the usual machinery of the pre- nineteenth century 
Telugu literature, namely, the Rakshasas and the 
Devas and could easily invoke at every turn the 
Deua ex Machina without wounding any critical 
taste yet this common-sense poet discarded the 
divine agency to a greater extent than any other 
Telugu poet of his century* In this respect, even 
Kalapurnodayam has to yield ground to this poem. 
It was only in one or two places that the poet 
availed himself of the miraculous power of the 
Devas. For example, Pradyumna and his troupe 
of players at first entered into the fort of Vajra- 
nabha like any party of human actors and 
actresses. But when Pradyumna had to enter 
into the harem of Prabhavati he bad to metamor- 
phose himself into a bee and passed into her 
presence concealed in the flower-garland intended 
for her. This fact is found in the original and the 

Prabhavati-Pradyumnam Its art 

poet only borrowed it in his poem. Notwithstand- 
ing, since it militated against his delicate sense of 
literary art, he, for tha next visit, contrived a 
secret subterranean passage between the harem 
and Pradyumna's lodgings. Thus the necessity 
for the miraculous element was got over. Pandit 
Mallayya Sastri garu, already referred to, inquires 
why the poet introduced a secret tunnel when 
Pradyumna could easily change himself into a bee 
every time he visited Prabhavati. think the 
explanation given above will clear up this appa- 
rent inconsistency of the poet. Moreover a secret 
passage would be useful not only for himself but 
also for his lady love, his brother, and his uncle, 
as it was actually used by them in the poem 
since they have not had the power of Kamarupa or 

In adopting the original story for the 
purposes of his poom, the poet either modifiei the 
material here and there or invented new fa^ts so 
as to give a cohesive unity to the whole story and 
a fine dramatic contrast or parallelism of chara- 
cter. The love-interlude of Gada and Samb<* with 
the daughters of Sunabha is in the original story 
as follows : 

"On one occasion when Pradyumna and 
Prabhavati were sitting in her palace, her two 
sisters came to see her and found her to their 4 
urpriae in the company of Pradyumna. She 

250 Pingili Suranarya 

then told them that, with the help of a mantram 
or incantation, she could charm any mdrtai or 
immortal to love her and command him into 
her presence. They then begged her to teach 
that mantram to them. She asked Pradyumna 
to name two proper husbands for her sisters 
and he named Gada and Samba. The two 
sisters with the aid of the mantram conjured 
them into their presence and wedded them.' 9 

This puerile method of love - making was 
^ntirely given up by the poet and in its place he 
invented the parrot embassy which affords the 
exquisite back-ground of contrast and parrallelism 
to the main theme. The love embassy of the hero 
tod the heroine was undertaken by the consum- 
mate female swan Suchimukhi and that of the 
minor heroes and heroines by a lesser personality, 
the parrot, with the awkward results as shown in 
the poem. Thus a fin s dramatic setting in con- 
trast and character was created by this single 
stroke of genius. 

Another example of the kind is to be 
found in the concluding part of the story. In the 
original it was Indra who, after the defeat and 
death of Vajranabha, divided the kingdom amongst 
his own son and the sons and brother, of Sri 
Krishna and appointed his own son, Jay a nta, as the 
guardian of the others. This assumption of the 
supreme power and direction by Indra appears 
to any judicious critic as nothing short of imperil* 

Prabhavati.Pradyumnam its art 251 

nence wjhen it is r^memberel that Enira was a 
suitor for help in the court of Sree Krishna and 
that Sree Krishna prosecuted the campaign chiefly 
with his own men and means against the enemy. 
80, to secure what may be called dramatic justice, 
the poet made Sri Krishna the arbiter in the 
settlement of the spoils of the war. 

Many minor changes in character or inci- 
dent are noticeable of more or less importance and 
they all go to show the judicious taste and percep- 
tion of the poet. 

(1) In the original the goddess Parvathi 
merely blessed the demon Vajranabha with the 
birth of a daughter named Prabhavathi but she 
had nothing to do whatever with the choice df 
a bridegroom. 

But Suranarya changed all this and in- 
vented the very pretty scene between Prabhavathi 
and her companion Ragavallari. Prabhavathi had 
a dream in which she saw the goddess Parvathi 
and the goddess, greatly pleased with her, gave 
her the portrait of a young man and said that he 
would become her husband. 

* (2) The beautiful interlude between the 
actors Bhadra and the Vedic students was inven- 
ted by the poet. This provides not only some 
agreeable fun and frolic at the threshold of a 
serious and complicated plot but also a clue at 

2M Plngali Suranarya 

Upatriti so necessary in a drama by whictj Sree 
Krishna hit upon the plan of sending Pradyumna 
in the disguise of the actor. 

(3) Just as the poet invented that the 
goddess Parvathi predetermined a husband for 
Prabhavathi so also he invented that Narada 
blessed her cousin sisters, Chandravathi andGuna- 
vathi, to wed Gada and Sam ba respectively. The 
poet evidently desired that the daughters of the 
two brothers, who are the heroines in the poem, 
should be treated alike in all phases of th e story. 

(4) In the original, Kasyapa, the common 
father of the Devatas and the Demons, was appro- 
ached by Indra and Vajranabha to arbitrate in 
their rival claims for the throne of heaven. The 
father postponed his decision till the completion of 
the sacrifice which he had then in hand. After 
the sacrifice was over, Vajranabha again went to 
his father to hear his decision and when it was 
given adversely to his claims, he disobeyed his 
father's commands and prepared for an invasion 
against heaven. 

In this poem only the first part of the 
above story was utilised and the rest was ignored. 
The reason is obvious. Kasyapa's decision served 
no useful purpose in the development of the plot 
as it could not prevent a conflict between the 
Devas and the Dan a v as. It is more in harmony 
with the consistency and unity of the plot to make 

PrabhavatLPradyumnam its art 253 

Vajranabha defend the purity of his home and 
make the treachery of Pradyurana and his kinsmen 
the Casus belli rather than a vain jealousy of 
lndra f s ascendency. 

Even this perfect piece of literary workman- 
ship is not altogether without|its few blemishes, 
mostly due to the inability of the poet to shake 
himself off entirely Irom the literary limitations 

of his age. One or two instances may suffice to 

explain my point. 

(i) The double description of the heroine 
from foot to head and again from head to foot in 
the conventional style is a weary tale of figures 
of speech and images which has been often dinned 
into our ears by every blessed Telugu poet. Tenali 
Ramakrishna copied this in bis Panduranga Ma* 

(ii) The description of the bed - chamber 
scene could have been spared out of regard for 
decency and good taste. Fed d anna unfortunately 
set this bad example and he was the literary dic- 
tator of the day. 

(iii) The silly quarrel between the hero 
and the heroine due to her misinterpretation of 
the word "Rati** which is itself an echo of a 
similar scene in Kalapurnodayam, is too puerile 
for a poet who could put forth much higher claims 
lor sound workmanship. 

254 Pfogali Suranarya 

Saving these tiny motes in a sunbeam, 
we have in this poem a very fine texture of plot 
construction and a very enthralling and breathless 
narrative which has perhaps no equal in the 
whole field of Andhra poetic literature. 


* His poetic style its nature and 
perfection in this poem 

From a consideration of his literary art 
we pass on to a consideration of his 
Style. literary style as evidenced by Prabha- 

vati - Pradyumnam. 

The poet's workmanship as revealed in 
this poem has been seen to be really fine and 
charming but his style is still more so. In the 
matter of the story - construction he owes some- 
thing at least to the original from which he 
borrowed his materials ; but in the matter of his 
style, he owes everything to himself. I sometimes 
think that the essence of this poem lies in the 
brilliant suggest! ven ess of its style. The species 
of style which, for want of a better name, I call 
the colloquial style, and which has been BO well 
used in Kalapurnodayam has achieved its lasting 
triumph and glory in this poem. The brilliance of 
the ideas, the vividness of the scenery, the melody 

* Please refer to Chapter X of Section III for 
the giadual evolution of the poetic style of this poet, 

PrabhavatI n Pradyumnam its style 

of the diction, the graceful and complete sugges- 
tivenefis of the language, and the whole atmos- 
phere being pervaded by a finely responsive feel- 
ing ; all these have reached their full stage of 
maturity in this poem. What Pope sail abiut 
himself may be truly said about this p^>et. "I lisped 
in numbers for the numbers came"; for there is 
throughout this exquisite poem a spontaneity of 
thought and expression which bears on its face 
the utter absence of effort. The verses seemio 
flow one after another as the waves do on the 
ocean while the rismg Sun pours upon tHem all 
his golden effulgence Save those conventional 
descriptions referred to above, all is natural, 
spontaneous and graceful. The spirit of poetry 
wafts its delicate aroma throughout. N"o word is 
misplaced or inapprpriato and even the most 
fastidious critic of language has to appreciate the 
felicity of the phrases in which the finest shades of 
thought and feeling are conveyed. 

The secret of this success lies in the con- 
summate use made of the natural resources of the 
society as they are actually seen or heard. The 
persons in the poem think and feel and talk in 
a very natural and unpretentious manner and 
easily appeal to the reader's sympathy. This rare 
gift of moving his dramatis personae in an at- 
mosphere appropriate to their rank and position in 
life, the poet possesses in common with the best 
poets of the world. Wordsworth revealed to 

256 Plngall Suranarya 

English nation the glory of a direot communion 
with nature and society and our poet is' one of 
those few Telugu poets who have done for Andhra 
Desa what was done by the galaxy of the inspired 
singers of England to their own country. Sincerity 
and simplicity in thought an 1 colloquial ease in 
language are the permanent gifts which Sura- 
narya contributed to the literature of his country* 
The poet himself was aware of the pre-eminent 
nature of his contribution and, in a tone of pardon- 
able egotism, he exclaimed that this was the fruit 
of his long Tapas I 

When describing, in Chapter X, Section 
III of this book, the gralual growth and develop- 
ment of Suranary a's poetic style as chronologically 
seen in his three available poems, I have had 
briefly to touch upon this subject of the style in 
Prabhavati - Pradyumnam. 

Here it will ba treated more elaborately 
to give it its due share in an exclusive review of 
this poem. 

Though the predominant characteristic of 
the style in this poem is the easy, flowing, and 
racy Telugu, yet, here and there, we meet with 
verses containing long Sanskrit compounds. A 
careful scrutiny, however, reveals that their pur- 
pose is , what may be called , condensation of 
matter and economy of space. The description of 
Vasudeva's sacrifice in versa 9J,C< which oornm 

Prabhavati-Pradyuranam its style JOT 

by the way and is not very material to the story* 
has been got over in the briefest possible way by 
pressing all about it into a single verse containing 
long Sanskrit compounds. That over, the poet at 
once returns to his natural and unconventional 
style. Similarly the description of the horse after 
Pradyumna's riding exercise in verse 35, Canto II, 
has been disposed of in a few long Sanskrit com- 
pounds as an unavoidable interruption in the 
course of the story. Other instances of the kind 
may be noticed such as the description of the 
music of the actors and the bed - chamber life of 
the lovers. Where a certain thing is felt to be 
unavoidable and yet to be an interruption to the 
current of the narrative, it has been almost always 
disposed of by the poet in a series of Sanskrit 

The racy and terse Telugu idiom, which 

forms, as already baid, the staple of the style in 

this poem, flovs as sn oothly into metrical verse 

as water flows into channels and there does not 

seem to be any particular attempt at diction either 

in building up, or in ornamenting, the sentences 

such as we often see in Srinatha or Peddanna or 

BaiLarajabbusbana. *lhe music of Srinatha and 

those pt his *chool of poetry is high - toned and 

sonorous, keeping up almost always to a high 

pitch and tension but the lilt of Suranarya, perhaps 

even more than that of Mukku Timmanna, and 

certainly more than that of Tikkanna, possesses 


258 Pingali Suranarya 

a natural and unpretentious cadence and sweetness 
and owes little or none to any conscious effort on 
the part of the poet. It is a striking instance of 
Art Concealing Art. 

The following may bo casually picked up 
out of many examples : 

l."Alas ! Without carefully asking her (Suchi- 
mukbi) about the princess I merely pretended 
a show of lordly unconcern. Unluckily for 
me my bashf ulness held up my tongue to my 
cheek. Could my silence seem like scorn to 
the she - swan ? She did not stay even for 
a moment longer and why should she ? Of 
course, great men do not waste time in vain 

(Prabha. C, III. V. 5.) 

2. "How much other people confide in you and talk 
to you, only just so much should you tell them 
in answer. This is the way of the wise. What 


. a. *. 5.) 

PrabhavatLPradyumaAin its style 2$f 

I have said now is just enough to settle the 
point in dispute between you both. I should 
not meddle any more in your affair." 

(Ibid : 0. III. V. 63.) 

Sometimes the complex inter - play of 
several emotions (Bhavasabalatha) is as easily 
and lucidly expressed as the simple states of the 
mind. The following verse describes Prabhavaci's 
mind when Suchimukhi suddenly broke out the 
news that her future husband is no less a person 
than Pradyumna, the son of Rukrnini and Krishna; 

1. "The tide of joy swelled in her mind and, all- 
pervasive, spread through her whole frame ; 
and, in spite of all the attempts of her bash- 
fulness to keep it down, flushed her face." 

(Prabha. O. III. V. 84.) 

The short descriptions in this poem are 
very natural and appropriate. This aspect was 
already referred to in Section III. A few instances 
may be quoted from this poem also. 

. 3. 

Mftgali Sutonary* 

2. The description of the swans descending 
to the ground : 

"The swans , descending from the 
sky, flew down near to the earth in a slanting 
way and without so much as moving their 
wings, and, when they came near the place 
where Pradyumna stood , they edged their 
bodies to a side and making a gentle turn, 
spread both their wings full wide, set their 
feet on the ground, shook and folded their 
wings, and, gracefully looking sidelong, pree- 
ned their feathers awhile, displaying thus the 
splendid gold of their plumage." 

(Prabha. C. II. V.42) 


B^A^ti* fto$ 

. e. a. 

PrabhavatLPradyumtiam Its style 26 1 

.What a minutely exact observation of 
nature is revealed in this 1 A. Keats or a Words- 
worth may proudly claim this for his own ! 

Equally fine is the description of the batch 

of Vedic students : as an illustration of the wit, 

humour, and good taste of the poet, all seen in one. 

l."O pure Brahmana jasmine - buds that waft 

around the perfumes of the Vedas 1 

O radiant sparks luminous with the glow of 
the immaculate Brahman in you I 

O you short ones that can reach the supreme 
heights of the Brahman 1 

O wise young ones that are licensed to play 
knavish tricks and practical jokes ! 

O my little bachelors ! O my lathers that 
just personate the dwarf - form of Vishnu 1 
Your kindness gives me plenty in everything! 

1. fc. TSfiliPtfOatoew tf-stec 


0fl * 



262 PtogaH Stiranarya 

What a fine example we have here of fun, 
froliq, *nd flattery to keep away the jackanapes 
school boys from playing mischievous pranks 1 

Enough has now been said to show the 
many - sided beautv of the style in this poem ; and 
it is a great pity that there has nob been another 
Telugu poet, either then or now, who could be 
compared to Sura nary a in the matter of the limpid 
flow and the sparkling wit of his style. 



The most admirable character in this poem 
is Suchimukhi but the most amiable is Prabhavati. 
Prabhavati is of the very essence 
Prabhavati. of the sweetness, grace, and gentle- 
ness of Indian womanhood and the 
poet has spared not a little trouble in depicting her 
character to the best advantage. 

Mr. C. R. Reddi, M. A. (Cantab) in his 
"Kavitwa Tatwa Vicharam" (Inquiry into the 
Nature of Poetry) dealt with the character of this 
heroine at some length in his own characteristic 
way and in one place said : 

3. " As for Prabhavati, she is, to my eyes, simply 

PrabhavitLPradyu tinm tlis Chiricteriz itfoi Jtf3 

I must beg to differ entirely from this 
hard and undeserved estimate about her. Opinions 
and tastes differ acooHing to the view - points of 
individual critics. With the bast of intentions 
this able critic, I think, has entirely misconceived 
Prabhavati's character and her te nperaiient. Tne 
heroine has been observed by him through a pair 
of Western spectacles and the very qualities which 
should have won the regard and even the love of 
a Hindu critic seem to have caused in him nothing 
but dibgust. Perhaps he might turn round and 
say that the character of Kalabhashini in Kalapur- 
nodayam has given him the greatest pleasure and 
that when he could appreciate a Hindu heroine 
like Kalabhashini, how could he He said to have 
misjudged Prabhavati by any Western standards ? 
My reply to this would be : " The very fact that 
the character of Kalabhashini has w:m so much of 
his approbation is a further proof of his estimating 
the Hindu woman by other than Hindu standards/' 
Kalabhashini is almost alone in Indian literature 9 
and, if she has any sisters, they may be just one or 
two. The poet, Suranarya, for reasons stated by 
me in ray review of Kalapurnodaya n, went far out 
of the ordinary way in making a courtesan the 
leading heroine of the poem and naturally depic- 
ted her to be free, unreserved, clever, witty, and so 
forth ; a type of the woman with whom one 
becomes familiar in the modern Western litera- 
ture; I say "modern" advisedly for even in 
the early or mediaeval western literature of the 

264 Pldgali Suranarya 

West , we find the woman not so bursting 
with rampant energy but rather blooming 
in the virtues of reserve and respect. It is, I 
think, a mistaken critical sense that judges the 
heroines of Shakespeare by the standards of the 
heroines of Marie Corel lie and finds them weak 
and timid or the heroines of Kalidasa or Bhava- 
bhuti by the standards of those of Shakespeare or 
Molliere and finds them lifeless and insipid. This 
defect ot criticsm , in my opinion, is distinctly 
noticeable in Mr. Reddi's work and , amongst 
other things, has marred his estimate of Prabhavati. 

Prabhavati , a Rakshasn princess , was 
brought up by her father in a harem " inaccessi- 
ble even to a male fly ". Her chief companion 
was Bagavallari and both of them were fairly 
well-educated m the fine arts of painting, music 
and poetry. The royal daughter had no worldly 
cares except those of the sex. So, when she grew 
lobe a woman, hhe felt ihat her life was a void 
with out a partner who could delight her and whom 
she could delight. But as she was brought up in 
a strictly guarded fortie&s and cut off from all 
intercourse with the outside world, the instinct of 
love grew within her breast like a lonely creeper 
sprawling about amongst the bushes and stones 
and sec king in vain lor the support of a goodly 
tree. Preeminently constituted by temperament, 
education, and circumstances for the reception and 
return of love, the softer graces of her sex deve- 

PrabfuvatLPradyunrian the Characterization 

loped in her raora then the sterner virtues of a 
virile* self-reliance or a courageous firmness of 
will, bhe was essentially an emotional creature 
thrilling with the soul of sweetness, rather weak 
in resolution, but strong in love. Beauty, culture, 
gentleness, and sweet sensibility are hers and 
when the God of Love, Pradyumna, renowned for 
the very same graces of the voluptuous kind 
crossed her lonely path she naturally yielded up 
her maidenhood ti the lees. It w*s a catse of like 
revelling in like ; an Antony lost in the coquetry 
of a Cleopatra or a Juliet bewitched by a Romeo 

to death. 


Simple as a child, she had no trace of cun- 
ning or artifice in her mind. She never kept a 
secret to herself but communicated it to her friend 
and confidante, Kagavallari, and whenever she 
was in a fix, it was her companion that had to 
suggest a way out of it. She spread around her a 
halo of brightness and love and her companions 
and servants repaid her love with a tender regard 
lor her happiness. 

When she saw in her dream the picture 
of her future lord, Pradyurana, she could not 
contain that secret to herself but forthwith told 
her friend, Ragavallari, of it and the little scene 
between them almost at the threshold of the 
brings out the delicacy of her character ; 

266 Pingall Suranarya 

1. *With a firm conviction Ithat it is only a picture, 
she would stand before it and raise up her 
face to see the face therein ; bat, imagining it 
to be a real man, she would at once suppress 
her curiosity and turn aside her face. Once 
again she returns to see with an ardent desire 
and again withdraws thinking that her lover's 
eyes are on her.'' 

(Prabha. C. I. V. 139) 

She instantly fell in love with the exqui- 
iiter beauty of the person in the picture. A girl 
given to romance and sentiment she had not the 
patience to wait and inquire whether the picture 
^presented a mere fancy of the artist or a real 
person in flesh and blood, before she gave up her 
heart for it. The Lady of Shallot saw only the 
passing shadow of Lancelot in the mirror and, 
longing and lingering in love, pined away to death! 
Frabhavati observed the picture day and night 
and, on one occasion, in an ecstasy of passion, she 
hugged it to her bosom ! 

2. *. -&<^ 


v. I.}*. 1S9. ] 

Prabhavati-Pradyumnam the Characterization 247 

1. " Oh I if such a handsome person should exist 
anywhere, if I could get him into my embrace, 
and if he should enjoy with me all longed-for 
pleasures, what would be then my feelings 
and ideas ! '' 

(Prabhavati-Pradyumnam, C. Ill, v. 41) 

Thus, she expressed the deepest longings 
of her heart and what a fine and fragile creature 
she was, woven of fancy, dreams, and imagination! 

Just at this stage, she had to pass froA 
the sympathetic custody oNier friend Ragavallsri 
into the hypnotic influence of the masterly 8uchi-> 
mukhi. The latter, a political agent of Indra and 
Brikrishna, came in the guise of a friend and 
benefactor. She was a woman of great learning 
and eloquence and, what is more, of a greater 
insight into character. She satisfied, at the outset, 
the curiosity of Prabhavati as to whether tha 
picture represented a living person or not and by 
giving the much-needed information, little b^S 
little, she skilfully sharpened her appetite for th$ 
hero and made herself the indispensable messenger 
of love between them. Suchimukhi was playing 


S aoot*c 


a deep political game no less than the utter destruc- 
tion of Prabhavati's father, Vajranabha, and the 
poor Prabhavati, little suspecting the ulterior 
purpose of the Swan-woman, allowed herself to be 
used as a pawn on the polit ; cal chessboard. A tiny 
emotional creature . with little experience of the 
world and less insight into character, she could be 
easily swayed so long as that tender point, namely, 
her love of Pradyumna, was not touched. Her 
love and longing for Pradyumna filled the entire 
cup of her heart and little she thought or cared for 
beyond her own world of desires and impulses. 
She reminds me in a way of that ill-fated heroine 
of Scott's "Kenil worth'', the sweet and impulsive 
girl, Amy Robsart, win was the cause of so much 
misery to herself and her father. 

I said that Suchimukhi could exercise her 
enormous influence over Prabhavati by minister- 
ing to her love of Pradyumna ; but even she could 
$ot sway her mind out of that element. Prabha- 
V&ti, though impulsive and otherwise weak, was 
unshakeably chaste and strong in her love for 
Pradyumna. For look at the delicate raillery 
with which she met the impertinent suggestion of 
Suchimukhi to choose another lover than the 
haughty Pradyumna. 

1. " Oh ! She - swan ! Having been my beloved 
companion and knowing that I have, for a 


Prabhavati.Pradyumnam the Characterization 

long-time, been very eager to hear about my 
lover, is it proper to afflict me at the end with 
your insipid discourses ? Up-to-now I have 
been believing that you are a woman of much. 
good sense." 

(Prabha. 0. UI. V. 97.) 
Thus she gave in her characteristically 
delicate and tender language a crushing rebuke 
to the she - swan ! If Pradyumna or some other 
on his behalf could come and carry her away she 
was only too ready to leave her father's house for 
the sake of her lover. Lf she could herself leave 
her father's house without his knowledge , she 
would have gladly done that. But neither this 
nor that was possible in her case. She feared her 
father, her terrible father and could not dare to 
propose anything to him or oppose him in any- 
thing ; and, in her pitiable situation, she had only 
one way left, viz., a clandestine union with her 
lover ; and the infinitely clever and far - seeing 
Suchimukhi anticipated it and, while planning for 
the union of the lovers, plotted also for the destruo 
tion of Vajranabha. Prabhavati was thus an un- 
willing and unconscious instrument of her father's 
ruin. Her fault, if fault it were, was, not that 
she loved her father less but that she loved her 
husband more. A. girl who could not bear to see 



a parrot struggling in a net, but should go herself 
to unloose the strings and set it free, she was not 
the person to contemplate with equanimity or 
conspire with callousness, for the death of a father. 
It must, however be admitted that she was inex- 
perienced in the ways of the world, and not very 
shrewd in judging people but she was full of love, 
tenderness and delicacy. A frail sensitive creature 
without guile and without suspicion, shedding 
a radiance around her by her sprightliness and 
good humour ! 

Though naturally weak in will, she was 
never a slave to the influence of the swan-woman. 
When Suchimukhi returned without the parrot 
and offered no explanation for her failure to bring 
it f see how sharply and yet how playfully she 
reproved her, showing that, even in her infatuated 
love for Pradyumna, she did not altogether lose 
her royal instinct of command. But the consum- 
mate swan - woman evaded her point and soothed 
her momentary annoyance by another appeal to 
her vanity. 

Her love was growing more and more 
intense but her lover could not possibly get 1 at her 
owing to the bitter hatred of her father towards 
him and she was thus driven to the necessity of 
seeking the advice of Suchimukhi. 

Prabhavatf.Pradyumnam the Characterization 17 1 

1. " Now this distress is insreasing more than 
before. Please tell me a way to steer through 
it. The King of the Rakshasas would not like 
his son-in-lawship ; and the city oannot be 
entered without his permission." 

(Prabha, C. IV. v. 52) 

The first difficulty was how to bring Pra- 
dyumna into the city. His presence was indispen- 
sable both to Prabha vati and Suchimukhi,of course, 
for two entirely different reasons and on this 
point the shrewd Suchimufchi saw that she could 
not do anything without the co-operation of Pr&- 
bhavati. So she asked Prabhavati to persuade her 
father to let her into his presence as a wonderful 
woman of many - sided erudition and eloquence 
and leave the rest to herself. It was done. Prad- 
yumna was brought in, disguised as an actor, 
Bhadra. Prabbavati was delighted. She never 
suspected that her father's enemy came as any- 
thing more than as her lover. 

The lovers met after a prolonged and pain- 
ful period of expectancy. Prabhavati found her 
self in her natural element and her elaborate and 

680010* acr 



272 Pingali Suranarya 

minute preparations for her wadding show how- 
keenly alive she was to her ideal of life which was 
no more than one of beauty and love ! Shakes- 
peare in his "Antony and Oleopatra'' or Keats in 
his *,Laraia" could not be more responsive to the 
thrilling sensuousness of life than Suranarya in 
this poem. 

But life is not mere enjoyment of pleasure 
and a man or a woman has to fulfil other relations 
than those of the sex though legitimate. The life 
of lovers is circumscribed by the considerations of 
the family or the social sanction introduces the 
the element of duty as against the freedom of 

Vajranabha, it is true, gave the liberty of 
choice (Swayamvara) to his daughter and caused 
the pictures of several prince* to be brought to her 
from which to select her lover but Pradyumna's 
picture was not amongst them for reasons best 
known to Vajranabha. The daughter's choice, 
however, fell on one who was the avowed enemy of 
her house. Under such circumstances it was the 
clear duty of a loyal daughter to inform her father 
of her choice, and, after obtaining his opinion, to 
determine her line of action. This would be the 
way of a bold and thoughtful heroine but Pratyha- 
vati was none of it. So she, like Desdemona, clan- 
destinely slipped into a marriage and thus violated 
the requirements of duty in her blind pursuit o f 

PrabhavatLPradyumian JTha Characterization 273 

love. The csnaequenca wag that the inerorable 
moral 'law relentlessly closed in upon her. 

Her father learnt of her secret union and 
the birth of a son. His anger knew no bounds. 
She, the only daughter and the much - indulged 
child of his affections, proved treacherous to him 
and the silken tie of paternal solicitude was snap- 
ped asunder by her disloyalty. She could not dare 
to beg her father's pardon nor would her father 
pardon her for her treachery not only against his 
person but against his throne. She was, in his 
opinion, a rebellious daughter and a treasonous 
subject and had to answer for two crimes. 

This conflict, moral and political, arose no 
less from her timidity than from the subtle arts of 
Suohimukhi. When the awful situation of a life 
and death struggle between her father and her 
husband opened before her, she thought in vain of 
the love of her father and obeyed the stronger 
impulse of her love towards her husband f her son, 
and their kinsmen in the fort, not to speak of her 
own life. 

1. 4< Having observed her lover who, for her sake, 
was grieving for his inability to make bold to 


Ddlo-Q ooood 

^tStf^Ttf&c VM& 

. 5. . W.) 

274 Pingali Suranarya 

fight with the King of the Rakshasas ; having 
observed also that her father was, with a 
huge army, approaching to lay siege to the 
fortress, and having looked in vain for some 
other means to save her lover and themselves, 
she then threw away her feeling of affection 
for her father." 

Prabhavati-Pradyumnam, C. V, v. 197.) 

Like Queen Samyukta who had to face 
the anger of her father Jayachandra, as against 
her love for the famous Prithiviraj, Prabhavati 
took up her sword and gave it to her husband 
with which to slay their common enemy, her 
father ! This most pathetic problem, the rights of 
tjhe father of a heroine as against the rights of 
her husband and her family, was invariably solved 
by the great poets in favour of the latter and 
neither Prabhavati nor Pingali Suranarya have 
acted, I think, against the common judgment of 
the poets of the world. 

PRADYUMNA : The hero of the po^ra is 
Pradyumna, the son of Srikrishna. He is a strictly 
orthodox specimen of the genus of the hero of an 
Indian Romance, bold and intrepid in war, but 
weeping and wailing in love. The poet has done 
nothing to single him out of the rest of his species 
and give him an individuality like that he gave to 
Prabhavati or Suchimukhi. The first time we 
meet him in the poem is when he was engaged in 
a game of Polo where he conducted himself most 

Prabhavati.Pradyumnam The Characterization 275 

admirably as a horseman and as a sportsman. 
The incredible feat of racing after the bail with- 
out its touching the ground outdoes all known 
record of the race-course and we hardly know if it 
may not be the product ot* the poet's imagination. 
Just at the end of his riding exercise, the {ubiqui- 
tous Suchimukhi, like a born courtier, polite with 
the tongue but plotting in the mind, approached 
him to make his acquaintance. Pradyucnna recei- 
ved her courteously and, cheoking his natural 
curiosity about her mission so as not to appear 
inquisitive, elicited from her, by deft questions, the 
cause of her visit to Dwaraka and the plot that 
was being secretly hatched against the Rakshasa 
king, Vajranabha. Then, swelling at the mention 
of a conflict with a sturdy foe, he burst forth in 
a spirit of bravado : 

1. " How much thought and how long do our 
people make over this matter, taking it as 
impossible 1 Can we not ourselves alone 
destroy the mightiest enemy, if only we are 
permitted ?'' 

(Prabhavati-Pradyumnam, C. II. V. 55) 

/ra sfco* -GO* 

. a * 55 

* 55) 

276 Pingali Suranarya 

whereupon the courtly Suchimukhi, ready to "turn 
every opportunity to account, administered a full 
dose of fine but purposeful praise : 

2. " O, Young man ! Indra, the wielder of the 
thunderbolt, and Krishna, the wielder of the 
Discus, are both making such long and un- 
ceasing deliberations over the matter : but you, 
without being daunted by the thought how 
mighty the Rakshasa might be, have proudly 
declared that you singly would slay him if 
sent 1 This is enough and it is true courage 
and becomes you alone. '' 

(Prabhavati-Pradyumnam, C. II, v. 58). 

But this was only a prelude to the real 
object of her visit which was to turn the thoughts 
of Pradyumna towards Prabhavati. So, taking 
the cue from his words, she related to him all about 
the beautiful princess and the picture given to her 
by the Goddess Parvati with the promise that the 
yong man in the picture would become her husband, 
and, slyly hinting that the young man was him- 
self, instantly flew away from his presence. 

fctitoo* TT-&C tf^otitaab jrVb-ftc Dofc* *oa 
cxa ** 

Prabhavatl.Pradyumnam The Characterization 277 

Pradyumna caught fire and, having with- 
in him any amount of that inflammable stuff, 
called Icve, worked himself into a frenzy and 
began to rave like a monomaniac. The hills and 
the valleys, the lakes and the gardens, rang to his 
plaintive appeals for help and at last a poor parrot 
took pity on him and undertook to carry his 
message: an excellent courier for an enamoured 
lunatic ! 

1. "Those who are distressed in love are by 
nature supplicants both to the animate and the 
inanimate creatures in this world/' 

(Kalidas : Meghaduta*) 

He wrote a love poem much in the vein 
of Orlando in "As You Like It" and, instead of 
hanging his poem on a tree like that English 
brother of his, he entrusted it to the safe convoy of 
a winged messenger, a parrot. The sequel, of 
course, justified the wisdom of his choice ! The 
parrot was duly waylaid in the garden of Prabha- 
vati and the lunatic lover's scheme would have 
ended, as it deserved, in a fine fiasco had not the 
note luckily dropped down from her wing and been 
picked up by Ragavallari. Thus the fiery contents 
of the missive leaked out to set fire to the other 
powder-magazine in the poem, namely, Prabhavatu 

The frantic lover sobered down and, with 

278 Ptagali Sufanary* 

the return of common sense, hit upon a more pra- 
otical course to gain his lady-love. In the disguise 
of an actor he visited the court of Vajranabha 
and performed several parts not the least effective 
of which was that of the lover in disguise. Pra- 
bhavati was won, it might be said, all too easily 
without a blow but still "None but the brave de. 
serve the fair ". So Pradyumna, a hot lover and 
a fine actor, had to bloom out into a goodly warrior 
too ! The opportunity was rather slow in coming 
but, none the less, sure. The fierce Vajranabha 
scented the bye-play in his daughter's harem 
where the love was not the make-believe of the 
stage but all too, too real for witness the strapping 
youths that wandered in and out of the harem and 
claimed to be his and his brother's grandsons 
without their knowledge ! A fight ensued ; the 
lover was put on his mettle. It was no play with 
a woman, no volleying with compliments, and 
making sweet music to the ear. It was a fierce, 
manly fight, a clashing of sharp swords, and a yel- 
ling of horrid hate. The erstwhile actor, sucking 
the sweet juice of love, had to stand the vengeful 
fury of Vajranabha and his brother. He stood the 
test and, by his vigilant foresight and personal 
courage, and with the help of his kinsmen in the 
fort, withstood the seige of the fortress by the 
whole host of Vajranabha and his brother,- until 
reinforcements came from Indra and Krishna* At 
last, in single combat, he slew Vajranabha and 
gained bis kingdom* Thus, whether in the sport- 

Prabhavatl.Pradyumnam The Characterizatien 279 

*\ng field or on the stage, in his lady's chanber or 
on the field of battle, Pradyumna showed a ready 
resourcefulness, an attractive personality, and a 
remarkable versatility and he has justified, in our 
opinion, the claims of his birth : a great son of a 
greater father. Still we think that be is drawn 
only as an orthodox specimen of the canventional 
hero of an Indian romance with no particular indi- 
viduality of his own. 

SUCHIMUKHI : It is refreshing to turn 
from the rather conventional heroism of Pra- 
dyurana to the serious, earnest, and absorbing 
personality of Suchimukhi. This swan-woman is 
a creation, at once novel and unique in the wide 
realm of Andhra literature. If Kalabhashini 
engrosses our interest by reason of her masterful 
energy and restless enthusiasm, Suchmukhi 
absorbs our attention by the subtlety and force of 
her intellect and the keenness of her insight into 
the recesses of the human mind. The one is a 
nerve centre of restless feeling while the other is 
a type of the pure unfeeling intellect. 

The poet found in the original poem, a 
meagre outline of the swan- woman, a shrewd emis- 
sary of tndra in the fort of Vajranabha, a skilful 
story-teller, and a clever go-between in the love 
affairs of the hero and the heroine. This rather 
conventional character has been transformed by 
the poet into a weird personality dominating the 

280 Pingali Suranarya 

course of the story with tha inexorable force of 

It was how Shakespeare produced a 
Hamlet out of a weak and vascillating Danish 
prince or Goethe developed a puppet-show hero into 
the universal philosopher of a Faust. The ways of 
Genius are inscrutable and Suranarya converted a 
fairy tale messenger into a personality that can 
give points to the most consummate politician and 
ambassador; The swan ambassador of Srinadha 
in his Srungara Naishadha-n is but a tame and 
commonplace creature beside this Suchimukhi 
though she might be her antetype. 

Suchimukhi was the daughter of Saran- 
dhara, the chariot-swan of Brahma. Saraswati, 
the Goddess of learning, taught her and as she 
was 1." a prodigy in eloquence." she was named 
by the goddess as Suchimukhi ( pure - mouthed.) 
On one occasion, in a poetic contest between her- 
self and a pet - parrot of Saraswati, the Mother of 
all knowledge, discovered some superior merit in 
her poetry and gave her the title 2. " The fill-giving 
Cow 9 ' in simile and hyperbole' - that is to say, a 
fertile and inexhaustible inventor ot similes and 
hyperboles and inscribed the title on her anklet. 


When Indra, searching for somebody to 
help him into the secrets of Vajranabha, found a 

Prabhavati.Pradyumaam The Characterization 

cluster />f swans flocking in the celestial rirer, he 
asked them to help him in a matter vital to the 
safety of his throne. He then told them about the 
disputes between ; himself and Vajranabha and tho 
consequent necessity to spy into the enemy's secrej. 
movements. Thereupon the husband of SuchL 
mukhi (he has no other claim to notice than as the 
lucky husband of a gifted wife) presented her to 
the King of Heaven and bade her relate what she 
told him about Vajranabha and his doom. She 
thereupon reproduced to Indra what she {saw in the 
fort of Vajranabha. From, her very first appear- 
ance she exhibited those supremely interesting 

qualitie3: cool circa mpaotion, careful anticipation 
of other paoples' objections and the ability t3 meet 
all such objections and, more than everything else, 
a trained habit for strictly logical reasoning and 
inference. These virtues of a severely disciplined 
mind were adorned by a gift of speech in which 
vivacity, clearness, and wit were ever in full 

Anticipating that Indra might naturally 
hesitate to trust in those who frequented his 
enemy's territory in quest of food, she disarmed, 
at the very outset, his suspicion by pointing out 
to him* the dire necessity which compelled her and 
her associates to seek the hospitality of his enemy. 

1. "0 Lord of Heaven! From a long time we have 
been always going to his city due partly to 


Piogali Suranarya 

our own foolishness and partly to thq needs 
of an empty stomach. Please pardon us for 
this offence of ours. This may, in a way, be 
excusable since we are only birds. Else can 
they be considered friends who visit the coun- 
tries of the enemies ? 

(Prabhavati-Pradyumnam, C. I. V. 118) 

Then she recounted the scene between 
Prabhavati and Ragavallari about the dream and 
the picture and , taking for her premises what 
she actually saw and heard, she placed the whole 
case in a clear cut and logical manner before the 
King of Heaven. In the whole narrative she 
neither exhibited any undue sense of self-import- 
ance nor overstepped the scope and purpose of 
Indra's instructions. The King of the Devas was 
astonished at the range and insight of her speech 
afcd exclaimed in the oft-quoted verse : 

t. " (See the translation given in Page 144 of this 

Kfife *66^rea>o Kab^cKSfc.ea tftfer'r^ sir- 

3. 8>. 

Prabhavatl.Pradyutnnarn The Characterization 

that the great qualities of her mind - purity of 
language, consistency of thought, and cogency of 
reasoning - must have been the fruit of a long 
period of training and discipline. "OSwan f you 
are not to be compared to anybody. Are you a 
mere bird ? You must be either Saraswati or her 
pupil - bird/* So said Indra and received in turn 
a courtly compliment with a quickly turned pun ; 
and the King of the Devas was delighted. 

The good impression she produced upon 
Indra was a strong recommendation in her favour 
to be engaged in the delicate and responsible 
mission of a secret agent and spy in the city of 
Vajranabha. She was then commissioned to go 
into the presence of that supreme statesman and 
ambassador, Sree Krishna, himself. 



"*0o\^ ttS^otf^8^eiA iplS. 

e, a, 

284 Pingali Suranarya 

Minutely cautious by tomperameot and 
training she hesitated to speak to Sree Krishna in 
the presence of Rukraini, as she feared that the 
mother would not take kindly to an affair that 
might embroil her son against an enemy like 
Vajranabha. Sree Krishna understood her hesi- 
tation and gave her audience in camera. Between 
themselves they arranged to send Pradyumna in 
the disguise of the actor Bhadra and Suchimukhi 
was ordered to prepare the way for the reception 
of this ostensible actor by Vajranabha. 

After this interview with Sree Krishna 
she managed to get into the presence of Pra- 
dyumna engaged at the time in the sporting field. 
Here, too, after a mutual compliment or two, she 
opened business in her careful and insinuating 
way. Very reticent in mat ters of business, she 
was voluble in paying delicate compliments and 
even her compliments generally smacked of busi- 
ness. Her object in approaching Pradyumna was 
to turn the careless young man into the love of 
Prabhavati. To this end , she exerted al) her 
powers of eloquence and described the person of 
Prabhavati in the most hyperbolic terms* Pra- 
dyumna's love was awakened and her object 
achieved. At once "she flew away from him as 

she could not afford to waste her time or her words 
for nothing. 

Prabhavatl.Pradyurtinarti The Characterization 

The next scene was in the harem of 
Prabhavati and there she was amidst her own sex. 
Prabhavati and her attendants vied with one 
another in their admiration of this wonderful 
swan - woman. It is impossible to convey any 
adequate idea of the acuteness, power and variety 
of her talk and action in the presence of the ladies 
in the harem. She moved amongst th^m facile 
princeps. Her full - toned speech, her dexterous 
wit, her uncommon range of observation, and that 
peculiar manner of hers , viz. , the pretence of 
obeying when she was really commading - all 
these found full play in the society of Prabhavati 
and her companions. 

As soon as she wormed herself into the 
confidence of Prabhavati she set about working 
her up into a frenzy of love for Pradyumna ; and 
this was no great task since Prabhavati was 
practically predisposed towards him- But the 
most difficult and dangerous part of the affair was 
to persuade her into agreeing to bring Pradyumna 
into the harem. To suggest it herself at the outset 
might be looked upon with suspicion. It should 
therefore come upon her as an inevitable condition 
for the union. The love letter sent by Pradyumna 
afforded a proper opportunity for preparing her 
mind to take this delicate and dangerous step. 
When Prabhavati read her lover's pathetic message, 
Suohimukhi congratulated her upon her success. 
Then the poor Prabhavati had to confess how vain 

286 Pintail Suranarya 

was the hope of a union as her father would not 
tolerate Pradyumna's coining and the town was 
inaccessible to any one without his permission. 
Then Suchimukhi said that there was only one 
way for securing Vajranabha's permission and 
Pradyurana's entry and that she alone knew of it. 
So if Prabhavati should persuade her father to 
give audience to Suchimukhi as a good story-teller 
and scholarly woman , the rest could be arranged 
by her. 

The simple Prabhavati fell into the trap 
and, at the next meeting with her father, prevailed 
upon him to allow Suchimukhi into his presence. 

The Raksha&a king was pleased with the 
range and variety of her discourse and asked her 
if f during her many wanderings, she saw any won- 
derful things. She replied that she saw many such 
but the most wonderful of them all was an actor 
named Bhadra who could personate anybody and 
everybody most successfully. Vajranabha expres- 
sed bis disire to see him and requested Suchimukhi 
to arrange for his arrival. This was just what 
Suchimukhi wanted. Vajranabha's doom thence- 
forth was only a matter of time 1 

It must be remembered that all this time 
Suchimukhi did not breathe even a syllable of the 
plot to Prabhavati and 4hat she made her believe 
that all her busy negotiations had the single aim 
of securing her happiness* Not content with thift, 

Prabhivatl.Pradyu n a i n The Characterization 287 

her busy brain conceived and carried out other 
sub-plots but in all these subtle weavings she took 
oare that, save herself, no one knew more than 
what concerned him or her. Such masterful self- 
concentration, lago - like in energy and subtlety, 
one can hardly see elsewhere in the wide realm of 
Andhra Literature. Pradyumna hardly knew 
what Gada was doing and Gada was equally 
ignorant of what Samba was doing. The three, 
though living together, were kept apart in their 
secret designs by this consummate swan - woman. 

After the three actors got into Vajrapuram 
and eventually wedded the three sisters, Suchi- 
mukhi was the friend and guide of the pairs of 
lovers and, particularly, of Prabhavati and her 
husband. A mother in counsel, a lady-in-waiting 
in the bed chamber, a reconciling friend in the 
love - quarrels - in fact she was everything for the 
lonely Prabhavati. When Vajranabha at last 
discovered the secret union of the lovers and 
beseiged the fortress to take vengeance upon them, 
Suchimukhi did them the last piece of service by 
intimating Sree Krishna of the perilous situation 
of his sons and brother. With this, her part in the 
story was over. The greater personality of Sree 
Krishna over - shadowed her and she disappeared 
from the story altogether. It is strange that the 
poet made no mention of her when , after the 
battle and death of Vajranabha , Sree Krishna 
distributed rewards to all those that helped him. 

288 Plngali Suraoarya 

The poet had not told us whit bacatne of this. most 
interesting character at the end , how she was 
treated for all her services. Is this failure due to 
accidental forgetfulness on the part of the poet or 
is there a deeper meaning in it ? Can it be that 
the poet could not make up his mind whether to 
reward her for her faithfulness to Sree Krishna 
or punish her tor her duplicity towards Prabhavati 
and her father and, in consequence, conveniently 
ignored her at the end ? Be the reason what it 
may, it seems to me, that here also the poet showed 
his usual shrewdness and sobriety of judgment in 
quietly dropping Her out of consideration before 
the end of the poem. 

The character of Suchimukhi is a produc- 
tion upon which the poet may be heartily congra- 
tulated. The minuteness with which he delineated 
her shows that he valued her as something more 
than a mere bird - messenger. Her being a bird, 
was due to the accident of birth but the poet, like 
Saraswati, bestowed infinite pains upon making 
out of her one of the cleverest types of the woman. 
A masculine understanding combined with the 
shrewdness of tho worn in and a vigorous will in 
action following close and anxious deliberation 
elevate her above the common run of f^pnale 
characters. She never exhibited any feminine 
weakness or delicacy t>f sentiment and had nothing 
but contempt for those who showed any trace of 
vascillation in their nature. Woman as she was, 

Prabhavati.Pradyumnam The Characterization 289 

she. oould freely discourse upon matters of sex 
before-a young man like Pradyumaa and that, in 
his very bed - chamber. Hers was the dynamic 
energy born of a vast and cultured intellect 
devoid of all vastigas of^sentimant and of feeling. 
Like Lady Macbeth she could say that : 

"I have given suck and know 
How tender'tis to love the babe that milks me: 
I would, while it was smiling in my face, 
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums * 
And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you 
Have done to this. 

She too never dropped even a single word 
of pity or remorse, either for Prabhavati or her 
father, when she was so cunningly encompassing 
his doom. One relieving feature in her conduct 
was that she had no motive of her own, "no axe to 
grind" and that she could say without reserve that 
whatever she did was for the sake of her 
sovereigns, Indra and Sri Krishna. Did not 
Chanakya the archetype of the scheming and 
heartless Hindu statesman carry out his machi- 
nations and stratagems only for the glorification of 
his sovereign Chandragupta ? 

. It might b ^ that Suranaray tried to depiot 
in her' the ideal of the Amitya class of Hindu 
courtiers so much in requisition in thoae troublous 
times when the Hindu and the Muham naian king- 
doojs in Irjiia rose *mcj fell like ojijshrooa^ 


2*0 Plngali Suranarya 

courtier, who could devote his talents, time, and 
energy, entirely to further the interests of his 
sovereign and who felt no compunction in the use 
of fraud or guile if only it was necessary for 
success, that type of courtier may always look up 
to Suchimukhi for inspiration and guidance. 


Odds and Ends. 

Prabhavati - Pradyumnam cannot be com- 
pared to Kalapurnodayam either in the wide range 
of t&6 sub jects or in the variety of topics dealt 
with. The latter is indeed a kind of epic which 
provided scope for the poet to include a great many 
things of social, political, and religious interest 
relating to the life of the Hindus and so the anti- 
quarian finds a large mass of material for his use. 
But Prabhavati - Pradyumnam, being more limited 
in subject and being more in a dramatic form, has 
not afforded similar opportunity for the poet to put 
in a like miscellany of odds and ends. Nevertheless 
the antiquarian can find a few interesting facts 

bearing on matters of historical or artistic value. 

POLO GAME: The poet Suranarya who 
T>el,ongB to the Sixteenth century A. D. has made 
the Iwro Pradyumna pUy a game of polo (hockey 
on Uprseback) which has been very vividly des- 
oribjwj in the poem; In the original Harivamsam 

PrabhavAti-PradytHHttamThd Odds and Bads iil 

there is no mention of this gam* at all. So it id 
purely an addition made by the poet to embellish 
the character of the hero. Possibly the prince* 
from the royal families of the post's time might 
have been playing sush a gun a in their sporting 
fields and the poet might have witnessed the 
agility and beauty of their performance and 
introduced the thing into his poem. The following 
extract from the 'Encyclopaedia Brittanica* bears 
on this subject of Polo and shows that the game 
was played daring the times of Suranarya. "Ph* 
earliest records of Polo are Persian. Prom Perdia 
the game spread westward to Constantinople, east- 
ward through Turkistan to Tibet, China, and Jtfptttf. 
From Tibet, Polo travelled to Oilgit and CUifr&t* 
possibly also to Minipur. It als* ftourishtd tfc 
India in the sixteenth century. Then for tWb 
hundred years its records in India ceasfc tfll in 
1854 polo came into Bengal from Manipur by way 
of Cachar and in 1862 the game was played in the 

2. PAINTING: In this poem the portrait of 
Pradyumna has also been introduced by the poet 
without there being any such thing in the original, 
The student of Andhra Literature is a\ 
freqfcent use of portraits in the ras 
making between Indian princes 
the obvious reason that the 
and the bride of royal lineage st 
other* face to face, except tErougl 

Pingali Suranaiya 

throJgh pictures: This custo n, still in vog&e in 
many royal families in our country, possibly tnide 
it imperative for the fine art of painting to be 
cultivated to a very high degree of perfection. 
Nachana Somana and Srinadha make the heroines 
see the portraits of many princes from which to 
choose a bridegroom. Nrisirahakavi in his "Kavi- 
karnarasayanam'' makes use of a party of portrait 
painters as arranging a match between the king 
Mandhata and the princess Vimalangi. Ramaraja- 
bhushana makes the hero of his poem Vasucha- 
ritrara gaze at the portrait of the princess Girika 
to satisfy his love - lorn heart. Thus the portrait 
played a very useful and convenient part in 
courtiship amongst the royal families in our 
country. Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy in his 'Arts 
and Grafts of India and Ceylon 9 observes as 

"We know from literary references that 
portrait - painting , though expressly condemned 
in connection with religious art, was an admired 
accomplishment practised by princes and others 
and even by women " 

Another point of interest in respect of 
Painting is that the idea of psychic distance or 
psychic detachment in Art so much talked about 
by our modern artists was quite familiar to our 
ancients : for Suranarya clearly indicated it in the 
following verse : 

Prabhavati.Pradyumnam^The Odds and Ends 

1. "A picture cannot be drawn without first reali- 
sing the form of every organ of the body and 
when once any organ of her body has been 
visualized, the artist's mind gets absorbed in 
its beauty and mental detachment is impossible 
to enable her picture to be drawn. '' 

(Prabhavati C.II V. 96) 

interesting fact we learn from this poem relates 
to the exhibition of the dramas and the arrange* 
ments of the stage in olden times. Here is a 
peculiar puzzle which the antiquarian has to 
explain. In this poem it is stated that Pradyumna 
and his troupe of players exhibited their dramas 
during day-time and that at night they were free 
to roam about in love-affairs. This arrangement 
is at variance with the practice now obtaining in 
our country. Our dramas or yakshaganas are held 
usually during nights except when, for the con- 
venience of a particular individual or occasion, the 
drama is exhibited during day-time. Is it to be 
supposed that Pradyumna and his troupe played 
during day-time simply for the convenience of 
Vajranabha and his harem? _ 

i. r. 



. 2. *. 98) 

294 Ptagati 

There is yet another point to consider in 
this connection. In our country there are two 
kinds of dramatic performances, one performed 
during nights and the other during day. The latter 
are called " Pagativeshamulu" (day-m isqaer^des) 
and are generally of the humorous or the oarioa- 
ture type; and perhaps resemble the 'masques' in 
England. These are always performed during 
day time as the name itself indicates. But the 
dramas played by Pradyumna, some of which were 
named in the poem, are certainly not of the carica- 
ture or farcical kind; for instance the drama 
"Gangavatara" or "the Dascent of the Ganges' 9 is 
certainly not a comical or farcical one as the 
theatrical get-up detailed 'in the poem in its conne- 
ction consists of the personation of the Emperor 
Bhagiratha, the river Ganges, the sacred Mount- 
K alias, and so forth. So it is quite evident that the 
dramas played by Pradyumna and his party were 
serious and grave and not at all light and frivolous 
Why these serious and sacred dramas came to be 
performed during day-time contrary to the long- 
established custom in our country has to be expla- 
ined by the antiquarian. 

It is also a point of topical interest, just at 
present, to find in the poem that women wer* 
allowed to take part in the performances oh the 
stage. They belonged to the courtezan or dancing- 
girl class as specifically mentioned in the poem 
itself and they took part chiefly as the 'Ohoruft* 

Prahbavati-Pradyumnam The Com p ire d 298 

girls' on the stage to mingle their music and add 
lightness and grace to the whole performance. 


The poem oompared with contempory Telugu poems. 

The age of Krishnadevaraya * deservedly 
called the Augustan age of Andhra Literature, 
was the period when several of our greatest national 
poems were produced. The period was not confined 
to the reign of Krishnadevaraya alone, but, roughly 
speaking, extended from the time of Narasaraya 
the father of Erishnadevaraya, to a short time 
beyond the collapse of the Vijayanag*ram Empire 
and covered about a hundred years. During this 
period mighty poets vied with one another in 
producing great and noble poems. Just as in the 
time of Elizabeth, some of the greatest English 
dramatists like Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beau* 

mont and Fletcher, competed with one another, 

~ --__--.-_____ ________ - r . 

* This period of Andhra Literature beginning 
with the accession of Krishnadevaraya (A. D. 1504) or 
a little prior, about (A. D. 1500) and continuing even after 
his death (A. D. 15^0) into the reign of hts successors 
Achyutadevaraya, Sadasivaraya &c , has been conveniently 
named tfce Age of Krishnadevaraya by Andhra historians 
since, the new movement, inspired and started by him, 
gradually developed and spread through their reigns also 
producing all along many first rate poets like Peddamu, 
Pingali Suranarya, Ramarajabhushana, Yellanna and other* 

296 Piogall Suranarya 

sometimes by working on si nail *r themes ajid 
sometimes by introducing similar situation^ and 
characters, so also in this period jf national self- 
consciousness , the Andhra posts seam to h*ve 
entered into an informal literary contest. A. careful 
perusal of the works of the leading p^etsof the day 
like Peddanna, Mallanna, Tim.nanria, i->hurjati f 
Yellanna, Suranarya, Ranaarajabhushana and 
others reveals to us the fact that the poets them- 
selves were the most critical stulants of one 
another's literary productions. 

To substantiate this view one need not 
rely simply on the traditional gossip of the present 
day ; that Vasucharitran was written in rivalry 
with Manucharitram and Harischendra- tfalopa- 
khyanam in rivalry with Raghavapandaviym and 
so on. Clear internal evidence is found in many of 
the works which goes to show that the p:>ets were 
either emulating, inititingor trying in certain 
places to improve upon,the sentiments or tiie langu- 
age of some other poet of the day presumably with 
a view to co.npare witi the work of the rival and 
display their own superior tasta or art, A. few ina- 
tances of the kind, quite germane to.our present work 
may be cited here and this interesting aspect of 
the comparative study of the Telugu Literature of 
the time be dropped for the present. 

It was already paintad oat elsewh jre that 
imitated, ip t^fe p^ a wbolq 

PrahtavatLPradyu unan Tha poani cdtnpared 

frt>n\ "Parijatapaharanam" of Mukku Timmanna: 
The love - quarrel between Prabhavati and Pra- 
dyumna at the end of this poem is practically an 
imitation of the scene between Satyabhama and 
Sri Krishna in the beginning of that poem. The 
subtle humour, the mocking irony, and the delicate 
taste shown by that masterhand of Mukku 
Timmanna have been rather faithfully copied by 
Suranarya in his poem. But it must be admitted 
that the imitation is rather a pale copy of the 
original : for we miss in Suranarya's performance. 
that piquant and full -toned dialogue with the 
covert and incisive sallies of sarcasm of Satya- 
bhama, and the sly and skilful parrying of Sri 
Krishna ; with an imperious temper on one side 
and a sportive humour on the other. The gentle 
Prabhavati is no equal to the supercilious Satya- 
bhama just as the juvenile Pradyurana is no equal 
to the veteran Sri Krishna. For purposes of com- 
parison a single verse from each scene is quoted* 

1. "O, Lord! Is it proper for you to utter any other 
words than those that proceed direct from 
your heart? and even if these words are such, 
perhaps, you speak them under the delusion 

Kg* -an d^tf* -**& (U^Ptfd dtfbo^tfi tf 

. . 5. 

Pfagali Suranarya 

that I am your beloved queen, Rati. Certainly 
I am not that Rati. People call me Prabha- 
vati." Prabhavati. C. V. V. 125) 

2. "O, servant of the cowherdesses! I will in no 
way trust you. Why do you provoke me? 
These ill-sorted and patent lies do not suit our 
tastes; they will be very dear to the lotus-eyed 
Rukmani. Enough, enoughl Please do not 
pretend any more loves, which, though pleas- 
ing, are still unreal! 9 ' Parijatapaharanam.C.I. 

The description of the personal beauty of 
Fravara in Manucharitram is similar to the 
description of the personal beauty of Prabhavati 
and this may also be compared with the descrip- 
tion of Girika's beauty in Vasuoharitrara. 

2. " To say that cupid moulded from a crucible the 
clear radiance of moonlight, the softness of 

&rx aafci jS 



Prabhavatl.PradyUittnam The poem compared 

tfye lot-us - petals an 1 the colour of the purest 
gold into the form of this beautiful girl is 
only the gossip of the world : but she is much 
finer than all these/' 

(Prabhavati. C II. V. 89) 

3. " Perhaps the lotus born Brahma mixed the clay 
of the River of Gold with the dust of the 
Sun when ground into a disc on the lathe 
and moistened it into a paste with the nectar 
of the Gods : How else can there be such 
lustre of the body ?'' 


1 . u Brahma should have formed her (Girika) by 

mixing the mud of the river of Gold with the 

sheen of the lightning and melting the mixture 

in the fires of Cupid and the whole brought 

into shape on the anvil of the lotus - pericarp.'* 


1. A. 

bftc, TV 

^9*WW W ^^^W 1 

300 Pintail Suranarya 

, Quite similar descriptions of either the 
person of the hero or the heroine are to be found 
in tjhe Bajasekharacharitram of Mallanna, the 
Radhamadhaviyam of Yellanna, and so on. In 
fgct all these poets owe it to the original in 
Srinatha's "Sringara Naishadham" who adapted 
it from Sri Harsha's "Naishadham'' in Sanskrit. 

The situation of the disguised Pradyumna 
in the presence of Vajranabha on one side and 
Prabhavati on the other, puts us in mind of a 
similar situation in Vasucharitram when the dis- 
guised pleasure - companion (Narma Sakha) of the 
hero Vasu had to play a double part, the part of a 
spy for his King, and the part of a sage before 
the heroine Girika. n both the situations, the 
poets needed language which would convey double 
meanings (slesha); and these two poets whose 
love for punning has become famous in the History 
of Andhra Literature would not let slip such an 
opportunity to display their favourite style. It is 
not possible to decide which is an imitation of 
which since the priority of either poem cannot be 
exactly determined. 


Its place in Andhra literature. 

The Prabandhams of this period were 
more or less of the erotic kind. Love was the 
main sentiment or JRa*a in them and each poet 

Prabhavati.Pra4yumjiara it& place 301 

developed it in bis own way. Peddana excelled 
all others in this particular vein of poetry: for he 
wrote in a style pervaded by much fine feeling, 
direct expression, and glowing sensuousness. Fur- 
ther, he bad eminently the gift of never over 
working an idea or situation but passed on from 
ecstacy to ecstacy, with the steady step of a genu- 
ine erotist. His poem, Manucharitram, is there* 
fore the best of this class of poetry in his age* 
Remarajabhushana, in his Vasucharitram, follow- 
ed him in a way but, by introducing, in his style, 
an element alien to genuine emotion, marred the 
good effect of the Sringara Rasa (erotic sentiment). 
The 'slesba* or punning in which he freely indul- 
ged appeals to the intellect rather than to emotion 
and, by casting his poetry considerably in this 
mould, he mixed it with something which is not 
congenial to true emotion. Ha thus s bo wed an 
imperfect grasp of the poetic art and, though 
endowed with superior powers both in conception 
and expression, has become something of a f ailur 
from the view - point of poetic art. 

The third of the illustrious Trinity of this 
time, was Suranarya. His treatment of love, as 
already said, was intensely psychological. The 
analysis of love and the self -conscious notice of its 
several stages and aspects form the staple of Ms 
art. This method of treatment, quite novel in 
Andhra literature and very interesting from tUe 
view-point of love-psychology, does not, howevr t 

302 Magali Suranary* 

adequately fulfil the real purpose of the Sring&ra 
rasa as it sometimes fails to rouse a responsive 
thrill of emotion in the reader. 

Another defect is also noticeable in Sura- 
narya's treatment of love. His powers of constru- 
ctive art being uncommonly vast, anything like 
singleness or simplicity of aim is rare in him He 
seems to take too much pleasure in complication 
and resolution. His love plots, like the other plots, 
bear the weight of over-building and are genera- 
lly inter-twined with equally grave themes, and in 
consequence lose both prominence and perspective. 
For instance, in Kalapurnodayam, the allegories 
interfere with the natural treat nent of love and 
in Prabhavati-Pradyucnnam the political concur- 
rent em bar asses the true course of love. 

Moreover, Suranarya could never intensely 
express the sublimity of passion - never pitch his 
voice loud enough when the anguish of the soul 
is the highest. Some temperamental defect pre- 
vented him from soaring to the heights of passion. 
He made efforts, but very often, sank into melo- 
drama. In such moments of eostacy the passion 
was maudlin and the expression inadequate. 

Notwithstanding these few obvious defects, 
Suranarya in his treatment of love, could command 
a greater range of experience, a greater wealth of 
ideas, and a deeper and subtler knowledge of the 
woman. The only poet of his day, who could 

Prabhavati.Pradyuitinam its place 30 3 

claim equal felicity and facility in pourtraying tha 
fair sdfc, was Mukku Tim manna. Both these poets 
displayed in their works, a very remarkable 
knowledge of the subtle workings of the woman's 
heart and were adepts in the graceful, decent, and 
delicate delineation of the nicest shades of thought 
and feeling peculiar to the fair sex. It is not our 
purpose here to decide thair relative superiority in 
this aspect of their poetry but Suranarya paid his 
senior and predecessor, the compliment, as already 
noticed, of imitating a whole scene from Parijatapa- 
haranam at the end of Prabhavati-Pradyumnam , 
in which an angry wife chides her husband in a 
subtle and delicate vein of mocking irony and tha 
clever husband both enjoys the scene and also 
tries to appease her wrath by sweet cajoling and 
sly humour. 

It is now evident that, whereas the other 
important pooms of the day possess this or that 
simple or particular merit, Prabhavati-Pradyumnam 
possesses many merits in an equally eminent 
degree. the natural weaving of a complicated 
plot, and its dramatic development, the exquisite 
character - drawing, and a tragic political back, 
ground giving a sombre setting to the happy loves 
of the lovers, all these steeped in a style which 
is tb'e very aroma ot poetry -such rare combina- 
tion is the unchallengeable excellence of Prabha- 
vati - Pradyumnam. 

*Jhe Jiife of pingali 




Suranarya as a poet. 

Now that we have studied the life and 
work of Suranarya with the help of his available 
poems, it remains that we should form a general 
estimate of his character and achievement and, 
also of his importance in the History of Andhra 

In order to form a general estimate of him 
as a poet and as a man, we have chiefly to glean 
together into one place the many scattered parti- 
culars we noticed in the course of the study of his 
life and ancestry and of the review of his three 
monumental poems. 

Originality was his predominant characte- 
ristic as a poet. His three poems are each unique 
by themselves. Each represents a type of literary 
work unattempted till then by any poet in its kind,, 
and before his time. Kaghava-Pan- 
Originality. davt>am was the first dwyarthi 
poem in Andhra literature and in confirmation of 
thit opinion, we have not only his word a* an r 


306 Piogali Suranarya 

authority but also the consensus of literary .judg- 
ment in our country. He was then but a young 
daring genius and ventured on this novel work 
with boldness and self-confidence. The Andhra 
world knows how his work, though ihe first of its 
kind in its literature, is still the best of its kind in 
its literature. 

His next poem, Kalapurnodayam, was 
equally original. Before his time the Andhra poets 
were used either to translate from Sanskrit litera- 
ture or to borrow a story 1 rom an 
Kalapurnodayam. ancient literary source and elabo- 
rate it into a long poem. But in Kalapurnodayam 
the poet did neither of these two things. He 
practically invented a story himself and, though 
this by itself was an original thing, he, not satis- 
fied with a merely novel story, wove into it, as I 
thihk, three allegories and made the whole a most 
unique performance- unique not only in the annals 
of Andhra literature, but also possibly in the 
History of the World's literature. 

The third known poem, Prabhavati - Pra- 
dyumnam was also original, The story was 
borrowed from a Sanskrit epic but the style and the 

manner of treatment were quite 
Prabhavati- original and novel in Andhra Lita- 
Prtdyunmam. rature at the time. At a time 

when there was no drama written 
in Andhra Literature nor even the dramatic 

Suranarya ad a poet. 107 

method of treatment adopted in its poetry, it was 
Suranarya that produced in this poeji the first 
informal drama in Andhra Literature and so this 
poem also can lay claim to originality. 

Thus his three known poems are original' 
in their respective spheres and bear irrefutable 
evidence in regard to the creative genius and 
resourcefulness of the poet. 

The second dominant qnality in the poet is 
what may be conveniently termed hiai Modernism. 

He is an Andhra poet of the 16th 

Modernism in Century but when we read his 

Art and two last poems we feel that we 

Style. are reading some of the Telugu 

poems of the Nineteenth Century, 
written by poets steeped in the Literatures of the 
West. He leapt, as ir, were, through three centu- 
ries to come by himself. We do not find his like 
either in the poets of his own century or of the 
next century or two in our country and as he 
wrote in a way that appeals to our modern poetic 
tastes and conceptions he has become immensely 
popular with us , more than any other Telugu 
poet of his time. 

9 This note of Modernism lies not so much 
in the subject * matter of his poems as it lies in thtf 
manner of his development of the stories. This 
manner of treatment has to be considered under 
two aspects $-* (1) The art or construction of the 

HtigaH Suranarya 

stroty, (2) The style or the language and ditftibn 
used as the vehicle of poetic expression. In both 
these aspects Suranarya was quite unique in his 
time and after and appears more as a modern 
ppet of our time than as a Telugu poet more than 
three centuries behind us. 

In his poetic art he, for the first time, 
conceived of introducing in his poems, chiefly in 
his Prabhavati-Pradyumnam, the dramatic method 
of developing his plots, by plan- 
Dramatic method ning out scene after scene and 
Monologue & making his characters work out 
dialogue. the story through monologues 

and dialogues and by complicat- 
ing the plot in such a way that it gradually led to 
a denouement and then resolving the whole in 
such a way as to suit the sense of dramatic 

Jn the dramatic treatment of his stories 
he wfcs also the first to introduce on a wide scale, 
what may be called character- drawing. In draw- 
ing his characters he freely used the method of 
Payohological treatment or the 
raethod of ^alysing the minds of 
his dramatic personae: a method 
which is so faniiliar to some of our modern 
authors but which was quite foreign to the poets 
of his time. There ara more types of characters 
oreattd by him than by any Telugw pott fetta* 

Sumuurya as a pset. 8Q9 

histiipe and his characters are each distinct from 
another. Kalabhashini, Manikandhara, Manis- 
thambha, Sumukhasatti, Suchimukhi, Prabhava- 
thi, and so on represent, each a type of character 
and form strong and lively contrasts to one 
another. Human nature with its strong and weak 
points, is plainly discernible in all these and they 
areas lite-like and interesting as the characters 
drawn by some of our present-day novelists and, 
dramatists , like Veeresalingam , Chilakamarthi 
Lakshminarasimham and so on. 

Again, in the matter of style, he was the 
first poet in our literature to use what may be 
called the colloquial style. The colloquial style 
discards the conventional poetic 
Colloquialism, diction prescribed by the) poetic 
legislators either in Andhra or Sanskrit. So Sura* 
narya, cutting away from conventions as much as 
it was possible for him, gradually evolved his 
own style, which, while satisfying the strictly 
orthodox rules of grammar and idiom, was yet 
the easily intelligible language of the people. His 
poetry is more easily understood and looks like 
the polished conversation of people put in metrical 

Though as a young man he showed a 
great love of pedantry and was immensely fond of 
Slvaha or punning, he gradually freed himaelf 
step by step from the mere exhibition of scholar* 

etsft his eyes on the real and living 

810 Pingali Suranarya 

around him and used as material for his poetry 
the actual social, religious, and political life of 
the people in whose midst he lived. He was thus 
a typical man of letters, a man who absorbed into 
himself all that the world, not merely of books but 
of real men and women, could present to him and 
introduced all he learnt into his poetry, so as to 
make his poems the pictures of real life rather 
than the conventional modes of expressing an 
idealised one. 

He was thus as a poet and as a man of 
letters entirely different and on a separate plane 
(I do not say higher or lower) from Srinatha or 
Peddana or Ramarajabhushana or any other 
Andbra poet immediately before or after him. 

The great names of Nannaya and Tikkana 
stand out in Andhra history as the creators of 
Andhra Literature. The massive personality of 
Srinatha swept over the Andhra land with the 
whirlwind of passion. Peddana and Ramaraja- 
bhushana bore up the Andhra muse upon their 
broad shoulders to be passed on in the next century 
to the devoted care of the royal patrons of Tanjore 
and Madhura. But the one original genius who saw 
beyond all others, who thought above all others 
and felt more than all others, the full tide of the 
Andhra National Upheaval ; who , not content 
with evolving new types of literature, shadowed 
forth in his greatest poem, Kalapurnodayam. the 
deeper struggle of humanity towards the Divine 

Suranarya as a mad. 3H 

ancl strove besides to picture therein the national 
hero of the Andhras- the great Krishnadevaraya- 
not only as the grand ideal of Bharatavarsha but 
also as the embodiment of the divine essence in 
man, that great genius is Pingili Suranarya 
Pingali Suranarya is thus 'THE GRAND SOLITARY* 
in Andhra literature. 


Suranarya as a man. 

Suranarya belonged to a very ancient 

Andbra Brahman family, which had its branches 

spread over a great part of the middle Andhra 

country and which was all along famous as a 

repository of learning both sacred and secular. 

The members of the family were pious and godly 

and were also generally employed in the services 

of the State and they were also rewarded both for 

their learning and their services with gilts of 

land and honours by the kings in those times. They 

thus combined in themselves religious piety and 

worldly wisdom, and these two traits of character 

the poet himself inherited from his ancestors, 

along with a measure of independence due to the 

possession of permanent incomes, sufficient not 

only lor the family's own needs but also for a 

liberal exhibition of charity and hospitality. 

His father, Amaranrya, was a chip of the 
old block-devout in religion and wise of the world; 

313 Ptng&li Suranarya 

and he brought up his son in acoordanoe 
traditions of the family - in ways of piety, prud- 
ence, and loyalty. 

Suranarya inherited his share in the 
family estates granted, either to his father or his 
grand-father, by the great Krishnadevaraya in 
the village of Nidamanur (Ongole Taluq, Guntur 
district) and was therefore above want; and he 
could freely cultivate the tastes and talents for 
which his family already became famous. He 
made use of his leisured youth and studied, as we 
are able to see, the learning of the ancients in 
Sanskrit and Andhra True to the traditions of 
his family he retained, in spite of his vast learn, 
ing, the shrewdness and sagacity ot* his ancestors 
and when he took on t he role of a poet- a vocation 
professed by some of his ancestors too- he had in 
him the equipment not only of a sound classical 
scholar but also the wise man of the world; so that 
when he wrote and dedicated his first great work 
Raghava-Pandaviyam to God Virupaksha, he 
could show a shrewd loyalty to the king, Peda 
Venkataraya of Akuvidu, along with a considera- 
ble amount of independence, tiven when he pre- 
ferred to dedicate his poem to his patron-God 
Virupaksha rather than to his patron-kin^ who 
vainly wished it, ha did not, like Nrisimha'kavi, 
speak slightingly or satirically of royal patronage 
but spoke sweetly of his loyalty, nay, of his 
friendship with his King and thus carefully kept 
himself in the good books of bis sovereign. Hf ft 

Suranarya as a man. 313 

is a striking instance of the shrewd com non-sense 
of the poet. A nimble wit, a moderate temper 
and, more thin all, a spiritual d )tachrnent from 
the greed of the worlds-qualities clearly discernible 
in all his works - must have helped him considera- 
bly in his relations with his patrons and his 

In bis Kalapurno iayam. he had to please 
a Vaishnava king - Nandyala Krishna Raju - to 
whom he dedicated his poem. The poem was, 
infar alia, a partial allegrryof the Vaishnavic view 
of the relation between God and man; but when he 
epoke of the other creeds in the same terms of 
allegory, he did not hesitate to give them their proper 
and rightful place in the fold of Hinduism* Only 
he brought out the Vaishn*vic view into greater 
relief without unduly diminishing the value of, or 
satirising, the other creeds* it is clear from the 
opening benedictory verses of his two poems, that he 
considered both Siva and Vishnu as manifestations, 
only distinct in name, of the same Divine spirit 
Brahman or Patwan. He was thus neither a 
bigot in religion nor a sycophant before royalty 
and maintained a just balance of thought in 
matters both of the Earth and of Heaven. 

In his last known poem, Prabhavati- 
Pradyumnam, he turned to the commemoration of 
his own father and his own fanily and thereby 
showed that the blessings of a good family and 


314 Pingali Suranarya 

parentage are at least as precious as the greatest 
rewards of princes and patrons. 

This kind of shrewd perception of essent- 
ials and of tact in the adjustment of differences 
without violating the sense of proportion or pers- 
pective is visible not only in his relation with 
public patrons and his own family but also in the 
various characters he created in his pooms. Like 
himself they too exhibit an alertness of mind and 
a subtle instinct in perceiving other people's senti- 
ments and they move and work and giin their 
ends without wounding susceptibilities and with- 
out raising strong opposition. They all reveal 
a keen sense of the practical and a great talent 
for diplomacy. The poet was thus more than 
anything, an eminently practical man - a man of 
much sagacity and commonsense, though a great 
scholar and wit. Such a man, we presume, could 
never have failed in life and in literature. 

Born in the golden age of the Andhras - 
the Age of Krishnadevaraya - when the Andhra 
genius majestically trod from victory t> victory, 
born in that glorious period of national expression 
Suranarya achieved by his pen triumphs no less 
glorious than those won by Krishnadeva's sword. 
Brought up under the care of a father whose life 
was an example of* piety and self - discipline he 
soon learnt the value of self - discipline himself. 
sycophant nor a cynic he conducted 

Suranarya as a man. $15 

himself manfully in royal courts and stood by his 
patrons on equal terms of esteem and affection, 
the great variety and mass of learning he acquired 
was not allowed t) crowd out of his mind the 
sterling commonsense with which he was imbued 
by birth and breeding. He loved the world for its 
joys but could never be enticed by its passions. 
The sorrows of the world mellowed his mind to 
sweet gravity but could not turn it to bitterness or 
melancholy. Shrewd and witty and pious, he 
moved like a spirit of heaven with his feet on the 
earth. Well- balanced in head and heart he could 
look on the surging crowds of humanity with a 
calm and observant eye, lit up by an occasional 
smile but never darkened by a sneer. The charac- 
ters he created in his paem, both men and women, 
had of course their proper share of tbe weaknesses 
of the world but only just so much as to show that 
they are all real human beings. He knew and 
loved mankind too well to create either paragons 
of virtue or monsters of vice but even in his wild 
imaginings he never lost the plumb-line of human 
nature and truth. 

Such was the great Pingali Suranarya - 
a lover of beauty, a lover of truth, and, more 
than all, a lover of peace and good-will in nature, 
man* and GOD 11 

Om! Santil Santi 1! Santi !!! 

Jhc Jtife of pingali Suranapya 


Metaphysical allegory-Further evidence. 

regard to the metaphysical or philosophical 
allegory of Kalapurnodayam, as explained in 
this book in Chapter V. Section 111, the following 
additional material is placed before scholars and 
critics for favour of consideration: 

In page 86 of this volume as a footnote 
I quoted two aphorisms from the Prasnopanishad. 
This Upanishad is the fourth of the series of the 
ten important Upanishads (Isa , Kena , Katha , 
Prasna, Munda, Mandukya, Tithira, Brihadaran- 
yaka, Chandogya and Aiteraya\ This Prasnopa- 
nishad is otherwise known as Kalapurnopanishad 
amongst Vedic Scholars, for, in this Upanishad, 
Jivatma and Pararaatma, have been explained 
in terms of 'Kalas'. It contains six chapters, each 
chapter Leing the answer to a question asked by 
each one ef his six pupils of their Guru, PippaJada. 
In the last chapter or question (Prasna) the disciple. 
Bharadwaja, asked his Guru about the Atman or 
the Soul and in this chapter the Guru explained 
that Jivatma contains sixteen "Kalas" and all 
the Jivatmas enter into the Universal Soul or 
Par am at ma and lose their identity just as all 
the rivers enter into the sea and lose their identity 
The Paramalma is *-Akala' f ojr 

318 Pingali Suranarya 

devoid of 'Kalas' whereas Jivatma is 
or full of 'Kalas'. What the sixteen 4 Kalas' are 
has been given in Prasnopanishad (Prasna IV 
Verse 8'. They are as follows : 1. Vision, 
2. Rearing, 3. mell, 4. Taste, 5. Touch, 6. Speech, 
7. Handling, 8. Sex impulse, 9. Excretion, 10. Wal- 
king, 11. Mind, 12. Buddhi, (intelligence) 13. Ahan- 
kara, (individuality) 14. Chittam (Consciousness) 
15. Tejas (Understanding) 1 6, Prana (Life which 
enables all the above to function). 

(Prasnopanishad, C. V. V. 8) 

They are again mentioned in Chapter V t 
(Prasna 6) V. 4. with a slight difference. 

Another interesting evidence, which shows 
that Suranarya had in his mind, from the very 
beginning of his poem, the matter of Prasnopa- 
nishad in developing the story of Kalopurnodayam 
and in making Kalapurna the apotheosis of 
Jeevatma, is to be founJ in the following point 
Neither Kambha would reveal to Nalakubara nor 
Narada to Kalabhashini who Kalapurna was for 

>r\6r sSfio ^ d*^r* 

\J O 

Metaphysical allegory .Further evidence. 3(9 

fear that she or he might bd born as mortals on 
this earth an i continue to have progeny of child- 
ren, grand -children, ani so on and they said that 
there has been an ancient injunction to that effect. 
The verses, relating to this point, are quoted below 
from Kalapurnodayam Canto L This very point 
is to be seen in Prasnopanishad, Chapter III V. II. 
Both the sloka in the original and the commentary 
thereon of Sri Jagadguru Sankaracharya are also 
given below so that scholars ra ly ji jg* th3 simi- 
larity of the one with the other. Thv3 slight modi- 
fication made by Surjtniry i nth it, for purposes 
of the story in Kalapirnolaya'U, he mala Bratmi 
utter this injunction in his conversation with his 
Queen Saraswati. 

It would thus be seen that, from the very 
beginning of writing the poem Kalapurnolayam, 
Suranarya had in his mini tha matter of Pra- 
snopanishad ( or Kalapurnopanishad ) to give a 
philosophical background to this extremely intri- 
cate love story. Though th) first part of the posm 
does not seem to be a regular allegory, the second 
part seems to be really one sucii : but the First 
!*art has been designed by the poet, a* will be seen 
from the above evidence, to lead to the allegory in 
the Saqoacl P^rt. 

320 Ptagali Suranarya 


1. Rambha said to Nalakubara : "O Jewel 
of Men ! [f you ask me what happens when the 
tales of Kalapurna come up into our conversations, 
1 must tell you that there has been an injunction 
that those who speak about these tales and those 
who hear them, alike would be born as mortals on 
the Earth and live for a long time, enjoying a long 
succession of children, grand -children, great 
grand - children, and so on and also wealth and 
welfare of all kinds. So if L toll those tales to 
you, I will have to go down to the earth as a 
mortal and would it be pleasing to me who eter- 
nally enjoy the bliss of your association (here 
in heaven) ? 

(Kalap. U- 1. V. 201.) 

t # 

ef r*ooe 

stab fcra 

! 0r-B 


Metaphysical allegory -Further evidence, 32 ( 

v Narada to Calabha^hini: " Woman ! 
The same fear which prevented Rambha fron 
divulging the story of Kalapurna aUo holds me 
and 8) I cannot tell it ti y)u ; bub [ know that 
there are other ways by which the tales spread 
into the world of men and take a hold there." 

(Kalap. 0. 1. V. 204) 

2. " He who knows Prana to be this, to him 
there will be no lack of progeny and he will enjoy 

(Prasnop. Ch. III. V. II) 
Sri Sankaracharya's Commentary. 

"Whoever knows this Prana according to 
its origin and its other attributes, to that knowing 
man the following result (Phaiam), b>th mundane 

. W. 1 tS. 804.) 
2. <tfc &sSo 0r^S* d-^wo <^ i *^iC)g(j6zr SrdBb 

|j6 a. . 11.) 


322 Plngall Suranarya 

and celestial, accrues: to him the chain of chilcj- 
pen, grand -children etc., never breaks ; and w5ien 
he dies (physically) he becomes immortal owing 
to the union of the Prana with the Immortal 
(Boul). ff 

I request all scholars and critics to read 
this Upanishad which gradually reveals through 
the six Prasnas or Chapters, tho creation of the 
Universe of Life, its progress and its development 
and finally its merging in the Paramatma or 
the Universal Soul. 

This is the external evidence to show that 
Suranarya had in his mind the metaphysical idea 
of Kalapurna while describing the king Kalapurna 
as the apotheosis of Jivatma. 

As for internal evidence, the three follow- 
ing verses as shown below taken from the Canto V 
of the poem Kalapurnodayam are to be considered. 
In verse 129 (Vavilla Edition) Kalapurna is repre- 
sented as having been born and having attained 
youth simultaneously and also simultaneously 
been given one gem, one bow, and nine arrows by 
a Siddha, named Swabhavj,. This idea has been 
elaborated in the two verses 191 and 195 of the 
same canto. The gem is said to attract all men of 
learning, whether learned in the Vedas or in the 
Sastras and as capable of giving them all welfare 
and blessings. Does not this gem stand for Gnanam 
(Gnanamani) or Divine Intelligence which has the 
peculiar power of attracting such people ? 

Metaphysical allegory ..Further evidence 

Secondly, the Siddha, Swabhava, is said 
'in the poem to have given Kalapurna one bow 
and nine arrows as stated in verse 194. There the 
word 'Nava' which means either 'new' or 'nine* 
cannot be interpreted as "new'' because of its 
relativity to the word 'one* bow (OkaViilu). So 
it must mean * nine' arrows, but not 'new* arrows. 
Even supposing that the word means either 'new' 
or 'nine* is there any sense in saying that Sara- 
swati had used 'New' arrows or *nine f arrows 
against her husband Brahma in defeating His 
purpose ? So the words there must refer to some 
other matter and must mean One Bow and Nine 
arrows as explained horeunder. What then are 
the 'one* bow and 'nine' arrows which are given 
by the Siddha, rwabhava, to the young King 
Ealapurna simultaneously with the attainment 
of his youth or adolescence ? It must mean that 
Kalapurna, by the very 'nature' of youth, possessed 
this bow and nine arrows. In my explanation of 
this matter in this book I said the bow means the 
mind and the arrows mean the five senses. I have 
to modify this statement by saying that it is not 
the five senses alone but the nine gates of the 
body or its nine holes (Navadwara or Navarandhra) 
including the five senses, through which Prana or 
Jivatma works upon the material world and its 
capacity to please (Madasaya and Rupanubhuti) 
Please Vide Chapter III or Prasna of Prasnopa- 
nishad where it is clearly explained Thus Kala- 
purn* or Jivatma enjoyed , through these nine 

324 Pingali Suranarya 

senses or gates, the pleasures of the world while 
possessing at the same time the higher or the 
Divine intelligence as represented by the gem. So 
the spiritual and the sensuous elements are repre- 
sented to have developed in him Naturally' as 
soon as he was born and attained youth at the 
same time. So Kalapurna stands for Jivatma and 
none else. 


1. " In the anus and the organ of the sex 
the Apana life ; in the eyes , the ears , the mouth 
and the nostrils, the Prana life : in the middle (of 
the body i. e., the belly) the Samana life : 

(Prasnop : Ch. III. V. 5.) 

The same thing is reiterated in terms of 
Agni in Ch. IV. V. 8 of this Upanishad where the 
nine gates are distinctly and expressly stated. It 
is not quoted here as it is unnecessary and as it 
may be referred to in the original by any scholar. 

In Chapter II V 2 of this Upanishad the 
word 'arrow* 'fcana' itself is used in connection 
with these senses, 'which also may be referred to. 



I*- * f*4) 

Metaphysical allegory-Further evidence 

2. 4< The moment he was born to his mother, 
that very moment he attained youth. The moment 
he attained youth, that very moment a Siddha 
named Swabhava (Nature) gave him a gem, a bow 
and arrows ; in this no body can see which is 
earlier and which is later .*' 

Again the same idea has been elobarated in 
the following two verses : The Siddha, Swabhava 
said to IV! anikandhara who was about to immolate 
himself and become Kalapurna in his next birth. 

" I will create for you one bow and nine 
arrows which will always bring to you victory : 
for t is there anything impossible for the God 
Dattathreya to do in this world?" 

(Kalap : C. V. V. 194.) 

o J 


. e. 5. *. 


e. 6. *. 184) 

326 Pintail Suranafya 

44 Further, I will create a wonderful gem 
and give it to you and by its attraoton it will bring 
to you all the assemblage of scholars in the Vedas, 
the Sastras and other Holy learning and also 
when it is merely seen, it will give the devotees 
all kinds of welfare and health/ 9 

(Kalap : Oh. V. V. 

These so-called nine senses* are, of course, 
horn even at the time of one's birth as a baby, but, 
normally , in the case of every ordinary man 
their dh&rmas or functions of enjoyment begin 
simultaneously with the attainment of his youth. 
However, in the case of King Kalapurna, his birth, 
his attainment of youth, and his enjoyment of 
these nine senses have all been simultaneous by 
the grace of the God Dattatrtya. 

r. fc lovr ti4otto c*efcA0$rfj*fSrotD "4 afoc 

*. & *. 


The Figures indicate the Pages in the Book. 

Abhinavakaumudi. 75, 
101, 114, 131, 196. 

Aesthetics, 19'i 

A tram a, 101 

Akuvid 8, 37 

Alaghuvrata 112, 2^5, 
?05>,210, 211 

Amalamma, 10 

Amalarya, 90 

Amarakosa, 25 

Amaranarya, 223 

A mar anna, 10 

Amaravati (inscription 
1?, 14, etseq. 

Ambamma. 23 

Amuktamalyada, 5,8?, 

Amy Robsart 268 
Ananda Coomara- 

swamy (Dr) 292 
Andhra, 44,47 
Andhra Bhoja, 8 
Andhra Desa, 205 
Anepondi, 6 
Angada, *6, 172 
Angadesa, 85 
Annnpurna Devi, 9* 
Anthropomorphic, 206 
Antony, 2*>5 
Antony & Cleopatra 271 
Appakavi(Kakunuru) 19 
Aj>sara, 70 
/^ravidu Dynasty, 62 

Ar juna, 45. 49 
Art concealing art, 258 
Atreya, 63 
Augustan Age, 295 
Avidya, 107 
Ayodhya. 29 
RalanagammaKatha, 25 
Bana, 66, 78, 1 '7 
BaridShah, 64 82 
Beaumont and Fletcher 


Benares, 29 
Bengal, 205 
Ben Jonson, 295 
Phadra, 186,271,284,286 
Bhadranabha. 231 
Bhadraswas. 229 
Bhagiratha (Emperor) 


Bhanumati 227 
Bharadwaja, 317 
Bharatavarsha, 204,205 
Bhashakavyam, 51 
Bhatrajupuram, 19 
Bhavabhuti, 26 1 
Bhava Raju, 38 
Bhima, 49 


Bhimana (Poet) 4 1, 44 
Bom ma, 38, 76, i>, 123,165, 


Brahman 109. 
Brindavanara, 197. 
Bukka, Arviti 62. 
Bukkaraya 95. 
Byron 138. 

Caesar 4, 5. 

Cape Comorin ?05. 
Casue Belli 253. 
Celia 239, 
Chanakya 281. 
Chandragiri 6. 
Chandragupta 289. 
Ghandrapida 78. 
Chandrasena 80. 
Chandrav iti 235, 211. 
Charlemagne 80. 

Chaucer 201. 

China Venkata Raya 38 

Chitsakthi 87. 

Cholas 4. 

Ohorus-girls 294. 

Chowry 158 

Christ 88. 

Cleopatra 26 >. 

Cupid 53, 180, * 95. 

Cuttaok 4. 

Dakshinamurty J. 
Dandakam 129. 
Dante 30*203.. 
Dasaratha (King) 45,49 
Decoan 4,5, 216. 
D<3sdemona 272. 
Deus ex Machina 248 
Dhananjaya 41. 

Dharraapuri, 92- 
Ohirabhava, 76, 101 
Dhurj*ti,5, 296. 
Digvijayam, '32 
"Hrouoadi, 4x 50. 
Dravidian, 4 
Duessa, 8S, ^20. 
Durga, 131, 135. 
Durvasa, 235. 
Duryn<}hana, 49. 
Ovy'arthi, 40, 44, 58,59. 
Dwaraka, 29, W, i?3, 
Dwisandhana, 41. 

Elizabeth, 12 X 
Encyclopaedia Brittan- 

ica, 290. 
English, 48. 
Epic Romance, 194. 
Eros, 135. 
Ethics, 193. 

Facile princeps. 235. 
Fairie Queen $4, 120,206 
Fauht,88, 105, 121,280. 

Gada, 232, 2.t7, 241,?4~>. 
Oadayya (Pingiin 10. 
Gandharva, H2, 1 .9. 
Gangas, 4. 
Gangavratara, 291 
Garuda puranam, ^8,31 

et seq, 166, 
Oaya, 29. 
Geinha girls. 1^6. 
Girika, 292, 298, 300. 


Gga, 4. 

Godavari (river) 9. 

Goethe, 105,153,192,203 


Ookanamatya, <>, 10.12. 
Gatzvon Berlichingen 


Gunavati, 235,241. 
Hamlet, 280. 
Hampipura, 94. 
Hamsaketu, 237. 
Hari Hara, 95. 
Harischandra V a1opa- 
khyanam, 53, 56, 58,59, 


Harivamsam, 227. 
Hetaera, 136. 

Himalayas, 205. 

Homer, 203. 

House of Mysore,91. 

Imrriaraja, 38 

Immaraja II, 38, 39. 

Indian Language 40. 

IndivaraKsha, 82. 

Fndra, 151), 163.185,288 

Iravata, 2 i7 

Jagannath, 29 

Jaghir, 37 

Jaghirdar, 54. 

Jarmini, 26. 

Jambavati, 1?3. 


Jayachendra, 27 1 


Jivatina, 85, 87. 

Kadambwi, 66,78,117. 

Kailas, 294. 
Kalabhashini,66, 68,73, 

75,89,10\1 21,122 
137,163, 170. 

Kalabra, 229 

Kalahastbi mahat- 
myarp. 5. 

Kalapurna, 66, 121,205. 

142, 152. 

Kala Sambara, ?31. 

Kalidasa, 3,78, 203, 264. 

Kalinga, 4 f 7, 39. 

Kama, 2*53. 

Kamaruna, 104, 249. 

Kamepalli, 19. 

Kanada, 26. 

Kanakasabhai, v, 155. 

Kapila, 26. 

Karnul District, 37, 61. 

Karthaviryarjuna, 92. 

Kasarapuram, 76,92,101 

Kasavamba, 38. 

Kashmir, 205. 

Kasyapa, 228, 235, 236. 



Keralas 4. 

Ketumalas. 229. 

Kistna, (River) 9. 

Kondavidu. (Battle) 8, 

Kramuka Kanthnttara- 
r uram 92, 97. 

Krishnadevaraya 4, 5, 6 
7,8J1. 3*.54,9ft, 

Krishna Misra 78, 119. 

Krishnam Baju- 

(Nandyala)8 t 6I 
f 3, 64, 65, 93. 

Kumara Virasyamala- 
raya 98. 

Kurukshetra 29. 

Kurus 229. 

Kutbshah, 64. 

Lady of Shallot 266. 

Lakshmamba 38. 

Lakshmana 49. 

Lakshraanna (Pindi- 

prolu) 59. 

Lakshmi Narasiham 
(uhilakatnarti) 3 9. 

Lamia 271. 

Lancelot 266. 

Lodge's Rosalind 2 39 

Longfellow 85 

Lunar. 91. 

Macbeth 105, 280 

Mac Donell,M.A.(Prof.) 


Madaaaya 76. 87, '01, 


Madhuralalasa, 66, 76, 
127, 16;, 1S6, 196, 
20S, 21 1 

Mahabharatam, 4^,44, 
4^, 46, 49 

Maha Moha 79. 88 
Maharashtra, 2^5 
Mahasweta, 118 
Mahishasura, 91 
Mall anna, 396, 300 
Maliay ya Sastry, P. 2. 
Man dh at a, 292 

See Kavikarna- 


Manikandhara, 69, 89, 

108,121, 1?8, 164, 

185, 197 

Maniraekhalai 135,1 3f, 

Manisthambha 72, 191, 
124, 132, 197, 205 
Manmatha, 135 
Manorama, 81 
Manovati. 233 
Manncharitramu 5, 54, 
81, 134, 161, 194, 
203, 296 

Marie Corellie, 264 
Mary, Queen of 8cots. 

Margaret, 121 
Mephistophele-s 88 
Meru, Ifcl 
Milton, 138 
Mineiva, 78 


MoJiere 204. 
Moslem, 4. 
Mrichcbakatika, 134. 
Nacbana Eoroana 292. 
NaRalapuram, 97. 
Nafmiea, 29. 
Nalakubara, 70, 101. 
Nandaka varnanam.10. 
Nandana, 72. 
Nandyal, 8, 61,94. 
Narrnaya. 194. 
Narada 50, 69. 103, 123, 

1?8. 185. 

Narappa 6'J, 61,65. 
Narana Suranna, 81. 
Naraparaju, 8. 
Narasaraya. Tuluva, 
62, W5, 295. 
Narasinga, 63. 
Narasingaraju, 8. 
Narasimh a Saluva 6?,9i 
Neeapatam, 209, 211. 
Nidaroanuru, 7, 11, 12, 


Nikurabha 227, 238 
Nirraaroa Puranam 35. 
Niyogi. 108. 
Nrisimhakavi 199, 216, 


Oliver, 239. 
Ongole, 19. 
Orlando, 239, 277. 
Padnaavati, 80. 
Pagativeshamalu, 294. 
Painting 291, 292. 
Paka nadu, 9. 
Palnad, 9. 

Pampa, 95. 
Pampapura, 94. 
Panchajanya, 238. 
Pandavas, 40, 41, 42,51. 
Pandit, 53. 
Pandu (king) 45. 
Pandyas, 4, 205. 
Parasurama 50. 
Farijata 156 


Parvati 151 
Patanjali 26 
Peddanna Allasani 4, 5 
8, 18?, 194, 19?, 
257, 295, 296. 
Pedavenkataraya 7. 37, 

Penukonda, P. 
Pet parrot, 122. 
Petrarch, 3 \ 
Pingali (Pinnili) 13. 
Pippalada, 3i7. 
Podili (Record) 35. 
Polamba, 38. 
Polo game, 183, 274,230 
Pope (Poet), 138, 255. 
Pothanna, Ul. 
Prabandhara, 55. 
Prabhavati, 151,301. 

Prabhavati- 1 -., 109 
Pradyumnamj ' 
Prabodha chandroda 
yanO 8, 84,110. 
Pradyota, 80. 
fradyumna 151,165,201 


Prasnopanishad 317. 

Pravara, 161, 194, 196, 

Praxiteles, 18?. 
Prayaga, 2^. 
Prithviraj, 274. 
Pundarika, 78, 
Puny am, 67. 
Queen Samyukta, 274. 
Rachapudi, 11. 
Radhamadhaviyam 300 
Ragavallan, 240, 251, 
165, 267, 277. 

44,51,107, K2, 


Raghuvamsa, 25. 
Rajah in undry, 7, 38. 


Rajasuya, 46. 
RajendraguruSwami 11 
Rakkas Tagdi, 5. 
Raksbasa, 46. 
Rama, 40, 4) 9 42,42,51. 
Rare a (Lakshrai) 166. 
Ramabhadrakavi, 169. 
Ramakrishna (Tenali) 
169, 217. 

Ramakri8hnaKavi,M. 1 
Ramakrishnayya, P. 1. 
Bamalinga Reddi C. 2, 
3, 115, 262. 

Ramarajabhushana, 61, 
S3, 54, 55,56,57; 
5tf, 169, 199,257, 
292, i95, 296. 
haraaraju Ally a 5, 54. 
Rarnaeetu, 50. 
KamaVishnu Samvada- 

katba, 166. 

Ramayana 40, 44 f 45,49 
Ramayyapantulu J. 1. 
Ramayya, Pingali, 9. 
Rambha, 70, 104, 125, 


Rameswaram, 4. 
Ravana, 46. 2,33. 
Rayavachakano, 216. 
Red-cross Knight, IW. 
Robert Olive, 140. 
Romeo, 269. 
Rosalind, 2 39. 
Rukmmi, 259, 584. 
Rupanubhuti, 76, 87, 
101,127, i96,205, 


Salina, 1^3,164,197,209 
Salya, 50. 

Salyasura, 8*2, 91, 114. 
Saivaite, 107. 
Sara a? a, 40, 167. 
Samba, 232, 237, 241, 


Sanjaya, 50. 
Sankaracharya 319, SSI 
Sanskrit 42, 44. 47, 58 f 


Sarandhara, 280. 
Sarasa, 77, 87. 


Saras wati, 99, 122, 165. 
Satan, 88. 
Satwadatma, 76. 86, 19? 


Satyabbama, 297. 
Scott's Kenilworth 268. 
Shakespeare 78 102 138 
153, 203, 239, 264 

Shakespeare's As you 
like it. 239, 277. 
Sh aktb iMri gendra 
Vabana, 72, 73, 
88, 116, 124. 
Shelley, 138. 
Siddba, 72, 124. 
Silappadhikaram, 135, 


Sita, 45, 46, 50. 
Sixteenth century, 3, 4, 


Slave dealing, 211. 
Slesha, 47, 48, 5% 56, 
Somadeva, 80, 16'. 
Somanna, 141, 182. 
Somaradhya, 11. 
Spenser, 84. 120, 206 
Sphinx, 187. 

Sri Harsha, 300. 
Sri'Krishna, 46, 69, 104 

Sri Nadha, 57, 198,204, 


Sringara Naiehadam, 

280, 300, 

Sringara Prabandhara, 


Srinivapa cbarya, 63. 
Sri Bamamurti, O- 1, 2 

3. 6. 7. 

Sri Ranganatha, 83. 
Sri Saila, 29, 114. 
Sri Venkatesa (God) 38 
Suchimukhi, 161. 230, 
267, 279. 

Sudarsanachrya, 63. 
Sugathri, 133, 164, 197, 


Sugraba, 197. 
Sumukhasatthi. 10', 

118, 132 

Sunabha, 21S. 2*8, 241. 
Supranada, 77, 87. 
Suro, 233. 
Suranarya. 38. 
Suranna Pingali 
(Suranarya's ancestor) 


Suranna Pingali 
(Suranarya's ancestor.) 


Suraparaju (Pingnli- 
buranna) 27. 
Suryanarayana Rao. T. 


Swarochisha Manu, 1 10 
Talikota, 5. 
Tamil, .735. 
Tapas H4. 
Tasso, 192. 

Telugu,4'.42, 47, 168. 
Tempest, 1 53. 


Tennyson, 90. 204. 
"The Grand Solitary" 

Tikkanna, 2, 28,109,178 
Tim ma, 38. 
Timmamba, 38. 
Timmanna (Poet) 5, 64 
82, 257, 296, 297, 

Timmaraja (Akuviti) 7. 
Timmaraju (Nandyala) 

Timmaraju (Nandyala) 

Poet, 6}. 

Timmarasu Saluva, 97. 
Tirumalaraya, 95. 
Tirumala Tatacharya, 

Tumburu, 71, 186. 
Udayana, 78, 80. 
Udayanodayam, 81. 
Ujjain, 29. 
Una, 88, 120. 
Upanishads (Isa, kena 
etc) 317. 

Upariohara Vasu, 110. 
Utkalas, 4, 216. 
Uttaras, 229. 
Vaisampayana 227 
Valmiki 141, 204. 
Vajranabha 165, 224, 
225, 226. 

Varudhini 82, 134, 161 

Vasanthasena 134. 
Vasavadatta 80. 



Vatsaraya 80. 

Vedas 168. 

Venkatakavi Chema- 
kura 139, 169 

Venkata Kumara 

Mahipathi Surya Rao 


Rao, Sri Rajah 2, 227. 

Venkata raya 38 

Venkata varada 38. 

Venus 187. 

Vidya 107. 

Vijayanagar 6, 37. 

Vimalangi 292. 

Vimana 156. 

Virabhadrarao. ch 98. 

Viranarasimharaya 95. 

Viresalingam. K. I 2 6, 

Virupaksharaya [I 95. 

Virupaksha (sri) 34, 37, 

Vishnu 122, 129, 166. 

Viswanatha sarma 
Vemuri, 35. 

Viveka, 79, 88, 110. 
Vyangya, 56. 
Vyasa, 26, i41, 203. 
Wordsworth, 138, 143, 
203, 261. 

Yaugandharayana, 80. 
Yellamma, 3J5, 296,300 
Yerranna, 20. 
Yogi, 105, 106. 



Advaita: The philosophy of Sankara. 

Agama: Veda. 

Ahamkara: Egoism. 

Alaghuvrata: One vho performed great 


Alankarika: Rhetorician; writer on poeties. 
Amatya: -Minister. 

Amuktamalyada: A Telugu poem written 

by the Emperor Krishna- 
Angada: The son of Vah the monkey chief of 

Annadana: B'ree gift of food. 

A damsel of Heaven 

Arjuna: One of the sons of king Pandu of 

the Maha Bharata. 
Ashrama: Hermitage. 
Atreya: The name of the original member of 

the family. 
Avidya: Nescience. 

Balanagamma Katha; A popular ballad in 

the Andhra country. 

l^ana: The court-poet of Emperor Harsha; his 
book, Kadambari, is the greatest prose 

work in Sanskrit. 

Bhagavadgita:-The song of the Lord (Krishna). 
Bharathavarsha: Tho entire Hindu Country. 
JBhashakavyam: Linguistic Poem, 



Bhavas: Emotions. 

Bhava Sabalatha: A Complex of emotions. 
Bhima: One of the five Panda vas of the 
Maha Bharata. 

Bhiraa (Vemulavada): A. Telugu poet of the 

Eleventh century whose 
works are extinct 

Brahma: The first of the Trinity of the 

Hindu Pantheon. 
Brahmacharis: Bachelor-pupils 
Brahman: The Universol saul. 
Brahmana: The highest of the fourc^stes in 

Hindu society. 
Chitsakti: I ntelligence. 
Dambha: Vanity. 
Dasaratha: Father of Sri Rama of the 


Dhiralalita: One of the four kinds of heroes. 
Dhritharashtra: Father of the Kauravas of 

the Maha Bharata. 
Draupadi: Wife of the five Panda vas of the 

Maha Bharata. 
Durga: Sakti (A goddess). 
Duryodhana: The oldest of the Kaurava 

princes of the Maha Bharata. 
Dvyarthi: Having double- meaning 
Qandharva: A class of celestials who are 

expert musicians. 
Oita: "Bhagavad-Gita". 
Gnanamani: Divine gem of intelligence. 


jGothramr The lineaga of a family traced 

from particular Rishis. 
Guru: Preceptor. 
Haihaya: A dynasty of kin^s who ruled in 

the south of India. 

Harischandra Nalopakhyanam:-A Telugupoem 
of the 16th t century, describing the stories of 
king Harischandra and king Nala. 
Inam-land: Land gifted to a person free of 

Indra: The Ruler of the Sfcy; corresponding 

to Jove or Jupiter. 
Jagir: Feudatory land. 
Jagirdar: Feudatory land-holder. 
Kadambari: A. prose work written by the poet 
Bana in 7th century, A, D, It is 
the greatest prose work in Sanskrit. 
Kalidasa: The greatest Sanskrit Poet and 

dramatist. He lived in the Gupta 
golden Age, 
Kama: Desire. 
Kama: The God of Love, corresponding to 

Kamarupa: Attaining whatsoever shape or 

form is desired. 

Kapalika-siddha: A member of a particular 
Order of Siddhas or 

Karma: The chain of action. 
Karthaviryarjuna: A thousand armed king 

in the Hindu Epics, 


Kasarapuram: Lake-city. 
Kathasarit Sagara: A collection of Tales in, 

Samskrit written by the 
poet Somadeva in llth 
century A D. 
Kavya: Poem (Sanskrit) 
Kethaki Yellow flower, Screwpine, Manda- 

nus odoratissimus. 

Krishna Misra: A Sanskrit Poet of the llth 
century who wrote the drama 
Krodha: Anger. 

Kshathriya: The lighting class which ranks 
Second among the four Hindu 
Lakshmana: The dutiful brother of Sri Hama 

of the Ramayana. 

Lakshmana Kavi, Pindi-prolu:-A great T^lugu 

poet of the 18th 

Lakshmi: Wife of Lord Vishnu and is the 

goddess of wealth, 
Lobha: Miserliness and avarice, 
Maha Bharatha(The): One of the two great 

Hindu Epics. 

Maharnoha: The great god of desire. 
Manmatha: The god of Love, corresponding 

to Cupid. 
Manthram: Holy incantation. 


Manu-charithrara: A great Telugu Poem 

written by Peddana, poat- 
laureate of Krishna Deva 

Maya: Illusion . 

Meru: The golden mountain in Hindu my- 
Mimamsa: One of the six Hindu philosophic 

Nalakubara: Son of Kubera and the lover of 

Nandana garden: The garden of the God 


Nannapa (Nannaya): The first of the Andhra 

PoeticTrinity. He lived 
in the llth century and 
translated into Telugu 
a part of the Maha- 
Bharata. His book is 
considered to be the 
first existing Telugu 
Narada: A divine-bard who figures frequently 

in Sanskrit Kpies. 

Narma-sakha: Pleasure-companion. 
Nataka: The drama. 
Jfiyogi: A sub-sect among Andhra Brah- 

mans, belonging to the courtier class, 
Nyaya-sasthra: Logic* 
Pagati-veshamulu: Day masquerades. 
Pandit: Scholar. 


Pandu: Father of the five Pandavas of the. 

Maha Bharata. 
Parasurama: A great Brahman- warrior of 

the Raraayana, 

Parijatha: A. kind of flower which, according 
to Hindu Mythology, was brought 
to the earth from Beaven; 

Parijath-apaharanam: A great Telugu poem 

of the i6th century 
written by Mukku- 
Timmana describing the 
bringing of Parijatha- 
tree to the earth from 

Parvathi: Wife of Lord Siva. 
Peddanv. The greatest Telugu poet of the 
Kmperor Krishna Deva Raya's Court. 
He composed Manucharitram. 
Pothanna: A great felugu poet who lived 

about i400 A LX and translated the 
Bhagavatam into Telugu. 
Prabandham: A kind of Telugu poem. 
Prabodha: Wisdom. 

Prabodhachadrodayam: An allegorical sans- 

krit drama written by 
Krishna Misra 
(See Krishna misra). 

Pradyumna: Another name of Manmatha, 
Prakrithi: Nature, 


Prasnopanishad: One of trie Upanishads or 
metaphysical discourses in 
Pravara: The hero of the Manu-charitram. 

(See Manu-charitram) 
Purana: AJI Kpic poem. 
Purusha: The Lord of the universe. 
PurVamimansa: One of the systems of 

Hindu philosophy. 

Raghava: Another name of Sri Rama. 
Raghu-vamsa: A great Sanskrit poem of 

Rajasic: Relating to t,h3 strong emotions of 

Rajasuya: A sacrifice performed only by 

great Emperors. 
Raju: Kin^?. 
Rakshasa: A demon. 
R*ma: -The Hero of the Ramayana. 
Ranaaraja-bhujhana: A great Telugu poet of 

the Emperor Kamaraya's 
court (See Ram iraya) 
and the author of Vasu- 

Ramaraya, Alia: The Vijayanagar ruler who 
fought the Muslims at 
Talikotam 1565 A* D. and 
caused the ruin of tho 
Vijayanagara Empire by 
his lolly. 


Ramayana(The): One of the two great Hindu 

Rambha: The greatest of the celestial 


Rasas: Poetic emotions, 
Havana: The ten-headed Demon, king of 

Lanka of the R*mayana. 

Ravana-Dararniyam: A Telugu poem of the 

19th century in which 
the stories of Ravana 
and Damma are blended. 
Riti: Style. 

Saivaite: A. worshipper of Siva. 
Saivism: Hindu religion relating to the 

worship of Siva. 
Sakthi: A goddess. 
aktaism: Hindu religion relating to the 

worship of the godde-s Sakti. 
Sakteya: A worshipper of Sakti. 
Salya: A Hera of the Maha Bharata war. 
Samantha: A vassal . 
Samasa: A compound of words. 
Sanjaya:-The ambassador in the Maha Bharata 
Sankhya: One of the systems of Hindu 

Wife of Brahma and the * oddess 
of Learning. 

Sathvic: Relating to the gentle emotions of 


Siddha: A man who attained the fruition of 


Sita: Wife of Rama of the ftamayana. 
Siva: The Third of the Trinity of the Hindu 

Slesha. Punning. 
Smritis: Codes, 
Somadeva: The author of "Katha-Sarith- 

Somana A great Telugu po^t who lived in the 

14th century in Vijayanagar. 
Sri Krishna The Yadava king who played a 
large part in the Maha Bharata 
war. He is considered by the 
Hindus as the incarnation of 
Vishnu. The Bhagavad Gita is 
ascribed to him 
Srinadha A great Telugu poet of the 15th 


Sringara Erotic sentimenc. 
Suthra Aphorism 

Suthradhara The leader of the stage. 
Swarochishaiiianu The Hero of the Manu- 


Swayamvara Personal choice of a husband. 
Tamil: A Dravidiam language which is rich 

in a literature. 
1 antrika: Belonging to the Tantras or yogic 

Tapas: Performance of austerities, 


Tarka: Logic. 

Tatacharya, Thirumala: The priest of the 

Emperor Krishna; 
Deva Kaya. 

Tikkana: One of the Telugu Poetic Trinity 
and also the greatest of Telugu poets 
He Lved in the 13th century and 
completed the Telugu Maha Bhara- 
tam. He is considered as the 
great* st of the Telugu poets. 
Timmanna, Mukku: One of the great poets 

of the Emperor Krishna- 
Deva Raya's Court. 
Tumburu: A divine-bard like Narada. 
Upama: Simile. 

Upaniehad: A philosophical discourse. 
TJparicharavasu: The Hero of the Vasuchari- 

Upasruthi: An accidental clue 

Vaishnava: -A. worshippor of Vishnu. 
Vaishnavism: Hindu religion relating to the 

wo* ship of Vishnu. 
Valmiki: V great sage who wrote the Ham t- 

yana in Sanskrit. 
Varna: Caste 

Varudhini The heroine of the Manucharitram 
Vasucharitram: A great Telugu poem written 
by HamaKajaBhushana in 
the 1 6th centry, 
Vasudeva; Father of Sri krishna. 


Vedantist: A philosopher. 

Venkatakavi, Chemakura: A Telugu poet of 

of the 16th cen- 

Vidya: Knowledge. 

Viraana. An aerial car often mentioned in 

Hindu Mythology 
Vishnu: The Secon i of the Trinity of Hindu 


Vishnubhakthi: Devotion to Vishnu. 
Visishta-adwaitha: Qualified Monisrn, 
Viveka: WisJom. 
Vyangya: Suggestiveness, 
Vyasa: The P >et and sage who wrot * the 

Maha B^arata in Sanskrit* 
Yadava: The royal family to which Sri 

Krishna belonged, 
Yajurveda: One of the four Vedas, 
Yamaka: Alliteration. 
Yoga: A certain spiritual practice. 
Yogi: Siddha, One who performs, spiritual 


I have interpreted the versa in Unto, I. 
relating to the possession of lands by Suranarya's 
jather as lands granted by the Emperor Krishna- 
devaraya in Nidamanuru under his royal seal 
(Vide Page 17 of this book). 

Some people seem to thiuk that Krishna- 
rayasamudram in the verse is a village that has 
acquired such a name owing t-> the proximity of a 
tank bearing the name 'Kriahnaraya samudram 
(c f. Bukkaraya sawudram in Anantapur district) 
To such critics I will state that, within a few 
n.iles from Nidamanuru, on the way to Amraana- 
brolu town, there ae a tank called Krishnaraja 
cheruvu; and we nee<i not go to Krishnaraya 
samudram near Nandyal for its identification 
e/en in that respect. 

'age Line 







































Tmmarajdi I[ f s. 

PINGALt Life of Pingali. 
History History (Pp 249&*50) 




86 Foot note(ii) a*sfr 

87 14 enjoyment, were enjoy nent were 
90 Foot note 1 

90 Foot note 2 





8of > 


last line Hindu 
15 have been 

15 song 

have been. 


Page Line 





Conmon Common. 



evolution evolution. 



the iiritish- the British Empire- 

Empire. in India. 

15 1 


peason person 



line hig high. 

19 i 


with growth with the growth. 



encomiams encomiums 



[he^Prabha- "Prabhavati-Pra- 

vati-Pradyu dyumnara** 




diaisons liaisons 



Suchi-mukhi- Suchi-mukhi, one of 

one of them, them, 



occohons occasions. 



acrosp across. 



he to he too. 



existence. existence, 



eftulgence ef f ulgenc i. 



thronghout throughout. 



odiuos odious. 



mediaeval mediaeval literature 





but against but also against. 



disire desire.